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Will green beans grow up sunflowers?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I know green beans will grow up corn stalks, thus relieving the gardener of having to make a trellis. And the beans and corn have different enough nutritional needs they don't have reduced yields from being grown together.



Would something similar work with sunflowers?
post #2 of 28
I don't see why it wouldn't work.
post #3 of 28
it may work.. but hte problem comes with that corn stalks are generally srtonger than sunflowers.... sooo if you get a lot of beans.. it will fall over easier.... i don't know for sure though!
post #4 of 28
I read the thread title and thought you were asking if green bean seeds would produce sunflowers when they sprouted! I was like, WTF?!?



But I don't know the answer to your question, sorry.
post #5 of 28
I thought the same thing, Tess.



(P.S. Is your avatar from NWN or Baldur's Gate or something? It looks so familiar.)
post #6 of 28
From my experience, green beans will grow up anything they possibly can, including you if you stand there long enough

My garden (my mom's actually) is surrounded by a fence so I always plant my green beans around the outside of the garden so they can grow up the fence.



I wouldn't try growing them on sunflowers because all the sunflower's I've ever grown have always fallen or almost fallen over. They might be too heavy for it. If you do plant corn or sunflowers, don't plant them by a fence or the squirrels will eat them.

~Wonder
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Medesha View Post

(P.S. Is your avatar from NWN or Baldur's Gate or something? It looks so familiar.)

NWN. But I also have some BG avatars. Yes, I am a RPG nerd! And I'm pleased to see that someone recognizes that fact from my av!
post #8 of 28
Hee hee. I'm an RPG nerd myself.
post #9 of 28
I know this is an old thread... but I tried growing beans on corn plants this past season.



It didn't work.



I had 2 varieties of corn- a dwarf variety of sweet corn (Golden Midget) and a hybrid variety of popcorn. I had 2 varieties of beans too (both for dry use): Hutterite and a type of cranberry bean.



The Hutterite bean is supposed to be a bush variety... I guess they mean it has something to do with the Chief Executive of the USA, because they crawled around everything. I lost a small portion of my crop because it was on the ground and I didn't want to eat it if it might be moldy. I guess that will be my seed for planting next year. The cranberry beans I knew were the climbing type, but those I planted near the full-size popcorn didn't really do anything. The corn seemed to stunt it. And the dwarf corn wasn't quite tall enough for the beans.

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

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"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

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post #10 of 28
There is an art to planting compainion plants.

If your corn is planted to close together it will block out the sunlight the beans need, if you buy beans that are a bit to vigorous it can kill the corn, never trust a "bush" type I never have luck with those.



You know what I like? scarlet runner beans, looks like flowers but are tasty beans and will grow literaly anywhere!
post #11 of 28
The ancient and modern Maya have been growing maize, sunflowers, beans and squashes together for a long time. Ayrlin is right - it is an art, not just in the spacing of plants but in the choice of specific sub-species.



I've seen maize and sunflower both serving as trellis, but I think it's a little overstated in the literature. Where I've seen it work, successfully, has been with relatively small bean plants, not those that are hybridized for huge yields. The vines tend not to run any more than halfway up the supporting plant. Also, the fields are groomed by the farmer so stresses put on the maize and mirasol are reduced and competing ground creepers are evenly spaced.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel View Post

The ancient and modern Maya have been growing maize, sunflowers, beans and squashes together for a long time. Ayrlin is right - it is an art, not just in the spacing of plants but in the choice of specific sub-species.



I've seen maize and sunflower both serving as trellis, but I think it's a little overstated in the literature. Where I've seen it work, successfully, has been with relatively small bean plants, not those that are hybridized for huge yields. The vines tend not to run any more than halfway up the supporting plant. Also, the fields are groomed by the farmer so stresses put on the maize and mirasol are reduced and competing ground creepers are evenly spaced.

You put it much better than I could

Companion planting is not just a space saver either it is practical.

Plants that work together repel insects and small animals and often make life easier for each other by one drawing up nutrients that the other needs ect.



You can plant beans and sunflowers together but make sure you pair them properly.

Do not put a runner bean on a sunflower that will need staking later, also sometimes you have to train your beans, just wrap them around whateve ryou are growing them up a little and they will do the rest.



make sure it is a climbing varity though, you can train bush varityes all you want but they are just going to flop over.
post #13 of 28
Cool! I'm glad I bumped this thread. I'll try again. I plan to grow more of that dwarf, open-pollinated variety of corn, and okra too. Okra grows straight, tall, and strong. I'll see how the beans like that.



It's interesting to see how plants do different things different years. Not that soybeans need anything to climb on, but last year and this year I planted the same edamame variety of soybean. This year, only a few plants came up- but they bore much more heavily.



One other thing: I used a bacterial inoculant on the soybeans and the two other varieties of beans I mentioned above. When the harvesting was over, I pulled the plants to collect the bacteria nodules on the roots- I was going to preserve them and inoculate next years' planting too. But although there were nodules on the soybeans, there were hardly any on the Hutterite or cranberry bean vines.

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply
post #14 of 28
There are different strains of nitrogen-fixing bacteria depending on the kind of legumes you're growing. Soybeans are Glycine max, common beans are Phaseolus spp. I don't know if these beans share the same bacteria....
post #15 of 28
While green beans will grow up cornstalks, I do not believe it is correct to assume that either or both will not have reduced yields, as a result. Also, all modern domestic corn varieties have very tall above ground growth, shallow root growth, and a tendency to blow over in even moderately high winds, esp if the ground if wet, even when entirely unburdoned with the extra weight of bean plants hanging from them. I used to stay out with my corn in out in rain and wind storms, racing to re-stand corn that had blown over, before too much damage was done due to them being out of the ground too long. This is despite making tremendous efforts to hill up around corn stalks, as high as possible, and touch up my hills right before a predicted storm.



Fortunately, most of the corn plants survived being uprooted, and then re-planted, and it didn't affect their yield. But it was a lot of work, in nasty weather. I'm not sure what the situation would be with bean plants growing up around the corn stalks -- would the beans survive and be productive -- I don't know -- but I would prefer to have my bean plants growing up on something sturdier than corn plants, if at all possible, so I would not have to worry about a bean crop loss, should I have a corn crop loss, if I was just too tired to put all those blown over corn plants back in the ground again, after being blown over several times during a long storm. Most commercial farmers simply lose lots of corn crop, if they have a storm. I think commerical methods -- generally relying on machinery -- end up being not profitable if you have to send a bunch of people out, in the middle of a storm, to re-stand blown over corn plants.



Obcessed vegan gardener that I am, I was willing to spend 20 hours outdoors in a corn patch, in a wind and rain storm, babysitting my corn plants -- 2 or three times a season. Most farmers are not so obcessed. Also, I only had about 400 corn plants. It was do-able by one person.
post #16 of 28
good point about modern corns - interested folks might try non-super-hybridized versions that can be found in heirloom seed catalogs (of course, these can be more regionally specific).
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

There are different strains of nitrogen-fixing bacteria depending on the kind of legumes you're growing. Soybeans are Glycine max, common beans are Phaseolus spp. I don't know if these beans share the same bacteria....

I'm pretty sure that soybeans and common beans have different bacteria helping them, although since regular beans and lima beans are both phaseolus, maybe they share the same bacteria. But I live in the Northeast, and I don't think soybeans are commonly grown here. I thought the inoculant would be a mix of bacteria for the different types. The package said that it was good only for the types of beans listed, but didn't list any bean types on the package. Maybe somebody made a mistake.



Soilman, I was wondering about that too- if beans weigh corn down too much, they might cause it to topple- especially in a high wind where the bean leaves would be something more for the wind to blow against. Okra is very sturdy, though, although I haven't heard anything about companion planting okra and beans.



I would assume that you would get a reduced yield of corn or beans if they were being interplanted. Although the TOTAL yield might be higher, we would not have as many corn or bean plants per foot of row.

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply
post #18 of 28
nigel "good point about modern corns - interested folks might try non-super-hybridized versions that can be found in heirloom seed catalogs (of course, these can be more regionally specific."



What I said applies to all domesticated varieties of corn. The only corn that it doesn't apply to would be the unknown ancestors that existed 1000 years ago. And not merely sweet corn, but all kinds of flour corn. They all have become dependent on human care, and been bred for large, tall plants above ground, with big ears, with less attention paid to whether the root system is strong enough to hold the bigger tops and bigger ears. The wild plants that corn came from probably had ears that were only about an inch long, and the whole plants were probably only about 4 feet high, and probably at least a bit more flexible. By time the time europeans started working with corn, the american natives had already quadrupled its size to about 4 inches, over who knows how many years, and which plants were its wild relatives, was a mystery, until relatively recent efforts were made, to dig up the facts.



While some non-hybrids would be a bit better than modern hybrids, still prone to loss due to wind. Also, the varieties that are less likely to be uprooted by wind, are also less likely to thrive if re-planted. Most of our domestic plants have become unintentionally selected for being resistant to damage from human handling, and for dependency on human help. You hill up around corn plants over thousands of years -- and eventually you unintentionally breed varieties that loose the ability to stay rooted if they aren't hilled up by humans.



Most people dont' realize that plant husbandry has caused many plants to be actually dramatically different than their wild ancestors. In some cases, the simply act of human cultivation, even without human breeding for intentionally and unintentionally selected characteristics, produces plants that are dramatically different than their wild brothers and sisters, even their wild genetically identical twins (vegetative reproduction is very common in the plant world).



The cabbage family is an interesting example. Brocolli, cauliflower, head cabbage, collards, and brussel sprouts -- are all the same species and all presumably derived from the same wild ancestors. They are also closely related to mustards, turnips, and radishes. Simply transplanting a wild mustard and feeding it on human-produced soil instead of natural soil, will result in a plant that is 10 times the weight, and with dramatically larger leaves -- hardly recognizable as the same plant. Coupled with breeding for adaptation to human-prepared soil, and the differences can be astonishing. Yet despite this, there are a few plants that are thought to be very close to their wild ancestors -- that seem to have refused to change much in response to closeness to humans.
post #19 of 28
Studies have shown that polycultures have a higher total yield, but as you suspect, Tom, you may get a lower yield of a specific vegetable.



What you're saying about the hilling up of corn over the millenia makes sense, soilman. If one is going to try the Three Sisters, probably best to grow them as the natives did, including the hilling.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by soilman View Post

nigel "good point about modern corns - interested folks might try non-super-hybridized versions that can be found in heirloom seed catalogs (of course, these can be more regionally specific."



What I said applies to all domesticated varieties of corn.





To a degree, of course - but the sturdiness of corns and their root systems vary within the species. The point I was hoping to make was that some corns fare better under wind and rain, or climbing vines than others. The corn that is grown in rows in Nebraska wouldn't stand a chance in parts of northern Yucatan, for example. Yucatec varieties are stumpier, stouter, and in my experience the roots tend to spread out a bit more, rather than form the arched clump that we see in the States. I wouldn't try to hang a winter coat on the stalk of any variety of corn, but for trellissing beans - you can make distinctions among breeds.
post #21 of 28
[OT] Mommas! Don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys! [/OT] Tarry on...
post #22 of 28
Ah yes Nigel, the Three Sisters, corn, beans and squash, To plant a Three sisters garden check out www.nativetech.org Mind you this is an ancient custom, when all vegetables were "Heirloom" no GMO or hybrids then. So yes, it may not suffice with some of our "new" varieties. But if any of you have the space and time next year, plant a few hills of the 3 sisters anyway.

And please diggers, buy Heirloom seeds as much as possible, it is the old supply and demand wheel again. If we do not DEMAND heirloom seeds, no one will SUPPLY them. www.seeds.ca Has a list of heritage seed suppliers from across Canada, U.S.A., France and England.

Poem by a fellow digger of the dirt:

My Garden,



Bare feet in wet soil

connecting electric

earth and air

so much green from one seed

In my garden

I am a continual witness

of life, death,

beauty in a scarlet runner bean.
post #23 of 28
I've always liked J L Hudson as a source....
post #24 of 28
post #25 of 28
When I first read about the three sisters idea, I had my doubts, not only that beans growing on corn was a good idea in general, but that corn I could grow in the UK would get tall enough to be practical. I did however see how a sunflower may be a better match. I can imagine the corn would get constricted and suffocated by the beans, not to mention blocking the pollination of the corn that grows on the stem of the plant. Where as the sunflower has a strong stem with large leaves that are connected to it at a distance. I reckon that the beans would fill the space quite nicely between the stem and the leaves and not affect the sunflower too much. It seems, though I can find talk of this, I've not see any reports or pictures of people doing it. This year I am in the process of trying just this. You can track my progress on my website:



http://www.plot54.co.uk/



I am growing rather large sunflowers, to give me a margin of error in height and native American 'Trail of Tears' beans to be authentic.



Though I thought the corn and beans would be a bad match, I could see the benefits of the combination of corn and squash. The corn will definitely benefit from having the ground cover protecting their roots, keeping the soil moist acting as a wind break. So I also have a large bed set aside for squash, pumpkins and corn to grow together. Again, check on my progress at my website.



At this point in time, the squash, pumpkins and corn are just about ready to be planted out. The sunflowers and beans are out already and beginning to grow well. The beans not big enough to begin climbing yet.





plot54
post #26 of 28
Can anyone tell me if that means all my peas/beans that require trellis will grow up my corn? I wasn't looking forward to building that many/that big of trellis lol! I'm growing some things like green arrow peas, cowpeas, wax beans, burgandy beans etc
post #27 of 28
I think that's how it's supposed to work. So long as you're not growing A bush variety of bean, they ought to twine around anything they can reach. I'm still learning. So far, I've tended to plant the corn too thickly and I think it shaded the beans too much. But as others mentioned in this thread, you want to make sure the beans don;t pull the corn down too.



My okra flopped last year, and a woodchuck (I think) killed the beans. Maybe I'll have better luck this year.



Edited to add: I think another thing you can do is: put two STURDY poles at each end of your row of beans; run a cord from the top of one pole to the other. When the beans have sprouted, tie strings at intervals along the cord so they dangle down to the ground. With luck, the beans will climb the string. This is the general idea, but there might be some fine points I'm missing like how thick the string must be.

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply

"Ground Control to Major Tom.... Ground Control to Major Tom...

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on...."

David Bowie- "Space Oddity"

Reply
post #28 of 28
I just looked in The Organic Gardener's Home Reference, and sunflowers are incompatible to beans, both pole and bush. Actually, sunflowers are incompatible to quite a few other vegetables. I know that my cucumbers did just awful when they were planted next to sunflowers.
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