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companion planting

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1 companion planting on Mon May 16, 2011 11:42 pm

I just listened to your polyculture podcast. I keep hearing that beans are a nitrogen fixer, does that mean they make nitrogen while they are growing? Or does that mean any nitrogen they make comes from the dead stalks and leaves after the beans have been produced? Also how do you get beans to climb up corn while it is still growing? Do you have to plant the beans after the corn is established? It has been as cold a spring as ever recorded here in the Pacific NW, how am I going to get anything started? The slugs eat all my starts and the seeds won't germinate. thanks

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2 reply on Tue May 17, 2011 7:46 am

Nitrogen modules are attached to the roots. Beans fix nitrogen by excreting sugars and microbes that produce nitrogen attach to the roots, this happens as the plant is growing. After the plant has lived its life cycle just cut off the top and leave the roots in the ground and those nitrogen nodules are available for the next plant. Nitrogen is being made as the bean plant is growing and other plants can use it, but usually most people cut the top to release it into the ground.

Plant beans a bit after the corn so the corn gets a start, and the beans will crawl around looking for something to climb and when they find the corn they will automatically climb it.

Been cold here too, but seems to be finally changing. A permanent solution to slugs are ducks or frogs. putting in small ponds to attract frogs will help with slugs, this can be done even in city lots. If you have room, ducks. Hope this helps.


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3 legumes on Fri May 20, 2011 12:49 am

thanks, I went crazy and sprouted all kinds of bush beans and climbing beans this year in an attempt to produce some long term food sources that could hopefully reseed themselves in the vacant lot next door. so far it has been way too cold to release my starts into the wild, hope to harden them off and plant them soon. Are beans like lentils and peas more hardy for this kind of activity?

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4 beans on Fri May 20, 2011 2:21 pm

Green beans bush or pole are not as hardy as peas, but after any chance of frost you'll be ok even if it is cool.


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5 Re: companion planting on Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:08 am

thanks for your information guys

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