Beans with corn??

Mon May 05, 2008 6:46 pm

OK, I've got a couple people trying to convince me to plant green beans along with my corn - they say the runners will run up the corn stalk, and I will be able to pick beans standing up.

Anybody got any experience with that?


Re: Beans with corn??

Mon May 05, 2008 6:52 pm

Man that is old timey. It was partly to give the beans something to climb on and to fix nitrogen to fertilize the corn. That is real pioneer way of doing it. I am 76 and that is before my time.

Re: Beans with corn??

Mon May 05, 2008 9:10 pm

Actually, it was native Americans who developed that technique.

Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 6:42 am

Whoa guys, this way is not that prehistoric ! ! ! We have done this ever since I can remember and I am already set to do it this year with the old time field corn planted already for the beans to run on. As soon as the corn comes up, then I will go back and plant the beans, with a sharp pointed hoe, right next to the corn. Today's hybrid corn stalks are not substantial enough to hold a prolific producer such as the Rattlesnake Pole Beans up, thus the need for the old time field corn. I do not care for the old time field corn to eat, at least not as much as silver queen, but that is what is needed to support the beans. Not only does it work well, but is a time saver in having to stake the beans and run twine to a center wire to support the runners. Just another way of producing more veggies from a smaller area and eliminating a lot of work. Pete

Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 6:43 am

I do bush beans.I think the beans would strangle the corn?Hope to plant this weekend,looks like rain though. :( :( Today[tues] looks to be the last day day for a while.Kevin :evil: :evil:

Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 6:46 am

Works well. The bean vines do kind of tangle in the corn. Still a common method here in the hills.
Use Kentucky wonder or McCaslin (sp) beans.

Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 am

I don't worry about them strangling the corn, just the fact that they have something to run on. Last year I had two rows of beans and had to stake one wire down each row, then run a center wire between the two rows attached to an eight foot post at each end, and then tie twine at each bean plant for the runners to grab on and climb upward. This took about a half day to do what beans I had, and this was only on two rows about 120 feet long each. I would sacrifice the corn, just to have the stalks. Pete

Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 7:58 am

That is the way they used to do it here before the bush variety of beans. As Pete said, saves having to run twine or build trellises of sorts for them to climb on. By using the corn stalks as trellis, when everything is gathered, you just plow it under and don't have to take up the twine to save for next year. Used to plant peas in the corn too, especially the old Whipporwill peas.


Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 8:09 am

To be more specific, the corn is silver queen, not field corn. Planted 10 days ago, it is just now peeking through the soil. While I'd like to have a row each of purple hull, butterbean, butterpea, and green beans, in my opinion they are not worth sacrificing one stalk of that delicious silver queen. I don't even know if they make runner varieties for all of those; would have to check.

I swore off planting any kind of bean after last year's back-breaking pickings, but if this method does work at no expense to the corn, I'll go play in the dirt again.

Pete, an inch or two away from the corn?

Thanks for all the advice - still interested in hearing more.


Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 8:17 am

Craig, you are right on the distance. That will be excellent, however, I can tell you from experience that the beans will break down the Silver Queen stalks as the beans just get to heavy. That is why I use the old timey field corn, it makes a large, heavy stalk and will support the beans with no problems. Pete

Re: Beans with corn??

Tue May 06, 2008 8:30 am


On picking purple hull, cream peas, etc. I haven't figured out a way to pick them and not be stooping over all the time. However, on the butter beans and pintos, we do it a little different. On the pintos, we will gather some when they are small for snaps, then wait till the others left have filled out all they are going to, then we go in and pull up the whole plant and pick the beans, throwing the plant down to be turned under. On the butter beans, we wait until they have put on and filled out all they are going to, then we do the same thing, pull up vine and all and pick. The very first butter beans that come on will be dry but they are thrown in a seperate 5 gal. bucket for next years seed, and the good ones are put in another 5 gal. bucket to shell. There is some waste doing it this way, but it saves on the back. Plus, it is a lot of shelling on both the pinto and butter beans at one time, but we go back to the house, wash the beans, and sit on the back porch and shell.


Re: Beans with corn??

Fri May 09, 2008 2:50 pm

I reckon I just have to try it. Talked with my 70+ year old aunt - she says she always does it that way. Only she plants her beans on the outside of the outside corn row, otherwise she says the beans will eventually clog up the path between rows and I won't be able to get to the corn. So, two rows of beans per corn patch.

Throughout the board, many posts advise to ask the local ag folks. I emailed them. Here is his response:

You can plant the beans with the
corn, but the corn should be at least waist high before you plant the
beans. If the corn isn't big enough, the beans can
easily pull the stalks to the ground. I would prefer to grow the beans
on a separate trellis to make picking easier. The beans will jump from
row to row and soon you will have a corn/bean jungle and will have
trouble harvesting anything.

So, I figure if I fail, I'm only out of some bean seed and 4 rows of corn.

Also did some googling on this subject. Apparently, as Don said, the natives started this. In English, it's called "Three Sisters" - using corn, beans, and squash, all planted together.

I'll let ya know how it turns out!

Thanks again.

Re: Beans with corn??

Fri May 09, 2008 9:09 pm

My grandfather did the corn and beans thing far back as I can remember. He planted silver queen with pole beans of some sort. I suspect is was an old variety that was not a prolific producer. Any likely suspects?