Tag Archives: beans
I don’t think I have ever experienced a summer in Alberta when, by the 20th of August, we still have not experienced a 30° day. It’s been cool and wet. And frankly, I’m ok with that. 23° is warm enough for me. But I wasn’t sure my garden would agree. I thought for sure with all this cool, wet weather, my plants would stop growing and start rotting. And indeed, when I picked my beans last week, there were lots of pods that were just rotting away on the plant. But in spite of that, I still picked a bumper crop of beans. And my peas have done better this year than they have since I moved here. And the corn! Well, let me just show you the corn…
So what’s been your experience with all this wet, cool weather (if you’re in Alberta)? Has it been a good year?
If you remember way back in the early part of this summer, I told you about interplanting my bean with my corn. Well, it was a terrible year for corn, so I’ve really got nothing exciting to tell you about that. However, what I didn’t mention before was that I also interplanted some scarlet runner beans with my sunflowers. And while neither grew to their full potential due to the poor growing season, I really enjoyed the way they looked together.
I had to add some support for the bean vines, since the sunflowers fell way short of the size they should have grown to. Next year I plan to try this again – and perhaps even add some of these beans to my grapevine trellis by the garage.
Finally the snow has melted and the forecast no longer has overnight frosts. Time to get gardening! I’m currently in the early stages of landscaping our new yard, and there is an area on the east side of the house that I haven’t figured out just what to do with it yet. So, for this year I’ve decided to plant a mini corn field. I’ve always wanted to have a corn field, but until moving east to where we are now, I was always too close to foothills to have enough heat for corn.
In 2008 I experimented with inter-planting beans and corn. It worked so well that I tried it again in 2009. I had my best corn ever that year, so I’m going to do it again this year. So in my little 24′ x 24′ plot on the east side of my house, I have planted Supersweet Northern Extra corn in rows spaced two feet apart. I planted two seeds every two feet. Then in between corn seeds, I have planted a variety of beans – Purple Royalty, Roma II , Straight N’ Narrow, Scarlet Runner Pole Beans, and even Dark Red Kidney Beans!
So there’s my field of beans and corn. Hopefully, both will grow nicely and produce lots. But if not, they should at least make for an interest way to fill the yard until I can properly landscape it!
After quite a bit of reading about companion planting, last spring I decided to try it.
Exactly what is companion planting, you ask? Companion planting is simply the process of planting different plants together that mutually benefit from having each other around. Native Americans used to do this with their corn, pole beans, and squash. They would make little mounds and plant several corn in the center. As the corn grew they would plant beans and squash around it. The corn provided the poles for the beans, the beans provided the nitrogen for the soil, and the squash acted as a mulch – preventing weeds and retaining moisture.
So I decided to give it a try – though not exactly as the natives did. I planted my corn in a block about 25 feet long and six feet wide with two feet between stalks. The corn was double planted and I planted two regular bush-type beans between the corn stalks. In the end, it looked like this…
Yesterday I picked the beans. When I compared the beans planted with the corn, they were much bigger than the same beans planted elsewhere in the garden. I was impressed. Companion planting does indeed work! So next year I thing I might try a few more combos.
Try These In Your Garden
Onion – plant with parsley to keep away onion fly
Celery – plant with cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower to deter butterflies (grows well with beans, tomatoes, and leeks)
Asparagus – plant with tomatoes, parsley, or basil
Swiss Chard – plant with cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, lettuce, or herbs – do not plant with string beans
Beets – plant with kohlrabi, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, onions, cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower – do not plant with string beans, dill, or fennel
Brussels Sprouts – plant with onions
Cabbage – plant with herbs, onion, garlic, peas, celery, potatoes, or beets
Kohlrabi – plant with beets or onions
Peppers – plant with basil, okra, or tomatoes
Cucumber – plant with corn, sunflowers, peas, beans, beets, or carrots
Pumpkin & Squash - Plant with corn, peas, or beans
Carrot – Plant with onions, annual flowers, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, or peas – do not plant with anise and dill
Lettuce – Plant with cucumbers, onions, radishes, carrots, or dill (dill protects them from aphids)
Tomato – Plant with basil, parsley, and asparagus or French marigolds (French marigolds deter whiteflies)
Bean – plant with celery, corns, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower or melons
Peas – plant with beans, root crops, potatoes, or corn
Radish – Plant with peas or lettuce
Potato – plant with corn, cabbage, beans, or marigolds
Spinach – plant with beans, peas, corn, and strawberries
Corn – Plant with beans, peas, sunflowers, cucumbers, squash, melons, and potatoes
Remember the article I wrote back in May about How To Build An Inexpensive Hoop-frame Greenhouse? Well, my mother-in-law (who is greatly enjoying her Mother’s Day present), took some pictures of the things she has growing in there. So I thought I’d share them here to further inspire you to build your own greenhouse next year.
Tomatoes down the length of the greenhouse
Oh, and incidentally… I just visited my brother’s A-frame greenhouse, built in the same style as my plasticless A-frame greenhouse, and it’s doing beautifully. He used the woven poly from Northern Greenhouse Sales and it’s showing no signs of wear. I am absolutely going with their plastic next year.