All beans whether Runner Beans, Dwarf Beans, French Beans or any other kind of bean or pea you care to mention are of the family known as Legumes. Beans are one of the easiest plants to grow as long as you get the basics right. Information on growing beans can be found here so on with Companion Planting Beans.
Companion Planting Beans
There has been a lot written about the benefits of using beans as companion plants and some of it is misleading. Yes all Legumes fix Nitrogen in the soil which many other plants find beneficial, however this is left after the Legume plant has rotted down into the soil.
Legumes As Nitrogen Fixers
Legumes grow in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria (Rhizobium) that dwells naturally in the soil. The bacteria takes the Nitrogen from the air in the soil and feeds it to the Legume plants which in turn feed the bacteria carbohydrates.
The Legume roots form nodules small round lumps that contain Nitrogen, the redder the nodule the more Nitrogen they contain. After the Legume has produced its crop, dig the whole plant into the soil and that will replenish the soil for next years crops.
The amount of nitrogen returned to the soil during or after a legume crop can be misleading. Almost all of the nitrogen fixed goes directly into the plant. Little leaks into the soil for a neighboring non-legume plant. However, nitrogen eventually returns to the soil for a neighboring plant when vegetation (roots, leaves, fruits) of the legume die and decompose.
Source California state university
Follow Legumes with Brassicas (Cabbage etc…) as these are Nitrogen greedy plants.
The Three Sisters
This is probably the origin of companion planting, started by the Indigenous people of America. The system of growing Beans, Sweet Corn and Squashes in the same bed thus getting the most out of the smallest area. The beans grow up the sweetcorn and the squash is used as ground cover to prevent weeds. There is no loss of space, the only problem I have in Essex is the Sweet corn has to grow to quite a height before the beans can be planted.
Companion Planting Beans
The following is a list (not inclusive) of plants that will grow quite comfortably with Beans. There doesn’t appear to be any advantages from a companion planting perspective, but as a space saving exercise they will work.
Plants that are advantageous include:-
- Summer Savory – This will deter bean beetles and improve growth and flavour as long as they are planted close enough and in enough numbers.
- Rosemary – Both of these will deter bean beetle.
Bad Bedfellows (What Not To Plant With Beans)
There are a few plants that will definitely cause beans problems if grown alongside them.
Any member of the Allium family including Onions Leeks Chives Etc… As Alliums need Nitrogen to grow they will be competing for nutrients. Causing failure in both crops.
Also Peppers and Chillies, these are liable to infection from Anthracnose which is a plant disease caused by a fungi. Beans are also very susceptible to this disease.
Definition of anthracnose
: any of numerous destructive plant diseases caused by imperfect fungi and characterized especially by necrotic lesions
This fungal disease can affect many plants including fruits and vegetables. It is easy to spot as it causes dark scars that can appear on any part of the plant, including leaves, stem, fruit or flower.