You may know green beans as a popular home garden vegetable. Aside from the fact that they taste fantastic, some of that popularity may have to do with how easy they are to grow and how productive bean plants are. Even so, there are some green bean companion plants that bring benefits to the garden, offering you a better harvest of those delicious beans.
Green beans, of course, are great garden companions themselves. They’re most well known for their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. That simply means they can take nitrogen from the air and convert it to forms that plant roots can absorb. In addition, pole beans don’t take very much ground space in the garden, making them an excellent companion for vegetables like squash or zucchini that require plenty of room.
But these garden relationships aren’t all one-sided. That’s why it’s helpful to have a list of green bean companion plants, so as gardeners, we can try to offer our green beans the same benefits it gives so many other veggies.
The 10 green bean companion plants that belong in your garden
1. Catmint: Catmint is about the easiest thing in the world to grow, and it’s a great pest deterrent in the garden. And even though many pests don’t like it, catmint does attract a number of pollinators.
2. Corn: This one is a classic. Corn, beans, and squash are the ultimate garden power team. The beans help supply the soil with nitrogen. Corn provides a support system for the beans. And the large leaves of the squash can limit weeds and help the soil retain moisture.
3. Cucumbers: Cucumbers make good green bean companion plants because the two of them can share trellises, saving some space in your garden for other plants.
4. Marigold: Certainly, marigolds can brighten up your garden. They also attract ladybugs and similar predatory insects that feed on aphids and other pests that might damage your beans.
5. Nasturtium: Nasturtiums are delicious edible flowers. Add some to your salads for a hint of spice and lovely color. But, delightful as they are on the table, these little flowers are powerhouses in the garden. They’re an excellent trap crop for so many garden pests.
6. Potatoes: Potatoes make fantastic green bean companion plants, as they repel the Mexican bean beetle. In return, beans repel the Colorado potato bug.
7. Radishes: Radishes grow so quickly that they make superb companions for many plants, including green beans. As a neighbor, radishes can help loosen the soil so the roots of the green bean plant can dig in.
8. Rosemary: Rosemary can help deter bean beetles, which may chew holes in the green bean leaves.
9. Squash: Squash is one of the best green bean companion plants, as mentioned above with corn.
10. Summer Savory: Summer Savory is said to deter the Mexican bean beetle, and some gardeners have reported that it improves the growth of the green bean plant. It’s also an ingredient in Herbs de Provence, so even if it doesn’t make your green bean plants better in the garden, it can certainly help out with your green beans in the kitchen!
As helpful as these green bean companion plants may be, there’s never a guarantee in the garden. So it’s always a good idea to check your vegetables regularly for any signs of pests or disease. The sooner you notice an issue, the easier it is to deal with.
If you notice your bean leaves have holes chewed in them, you might have Mexican bean beetles. Leaf miners leave winding scars on the leaves.
Looking at the bean pods and stems, the corn earworm, cowpea curculio, and European corn borer will eat holes in the pods. And the lesser cornstalk borer will eat through the stems of the bean plant.
You can try to pick them off by hand and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. While you’re at it, remove any pods you see with holes or deformations, as they are likely harboring pests or potentially eggs. Insecticidal soap and Neem oil are both excellent for removing and killing pests, too.
What NOT to grow with green beans
Even though green beans get along well with plenty of other herbs and vegetables, there are a few plants that make less-than-ideal companions for green beans.
- Broccoli can get overwhelmed by the nitrogen bean plants add to the soil.
- Garlic can stunt the growth of green beans.
- Onions can stunt the growth of bean plants.
- Peppers may or may not be good green bean companion plants. Some sources suggest that vigorously-growing beans might choke out pepper plants.
- Sunflowers and green beans don’t go well together at all. Since they need many of the same nutrients, the sunflower releases a chemical that inhibits the growth of bean plants.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have these plants in a garden with green beans. It just means they need some space from one another.
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