Small Garden Prob: Planting beans over peas?

emcd124(5)February 16, 2013

I have a pretty small backyard and very limited gardening space, so I'm always trying to learn more about how to intercrop things, and how to do succession planting to maximize the space available. Here is the idea I've been thinking on, but I need advice from more seasoned legume growers:

I have a 4x2" box that is partly under the eaves from my garage, so the back half doesnt get great water. I'd like to plant a row of tall peas in the front half of the box and put up a big square trellis across the back of the box, so that the peas grow up twine from their position in the middle up to the trellis at the back end (growing along twine at slight diagonal). That way their roots get water but they grow up and out of the way.

Ideally then, if possible, I was wondering if I could plant my summer pole beans in the same spot and let them grow up over the peas. Because wouldnt the beans be growing about the same time the peas were dying out because of the heat?

I know that ideally you dont plant the same family (legume) in the same spot but I'm so short on space that usually I dont have much option. I try to rotate things so at least they dont spend more than two years in the same spot, but even that I cant always manage.

I'd appreciate advice from you more seasoned growers. And if its a disaster to try to succession plant beans over peas, what DO you succession plant after your spring peas?

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I've never tried to succession plant beans over peas, so I can't personally testify to whether it would work or not. My suspicion is that it would not work very well.

You have already stated one potential problem (following a vegetable with another member of the same family), which could cause nutrient or disease issues. Additionally, because I assume from your zone that you have a short season, the growing times would need to overlap considerably. You would need to plant the beans even before the peas were mature, while avoiding root damage to the peas. With only a fixed amount of nutrients & sunlight, I don't know how that would work out.

Undoubtedly the reason you are looking at succession planting is to get the best utilization from the space. IMO, peas are not especially high yielders, so in a choice between peas and pole beans, I'd pick beans every time. Of course, if you really like fresh snap peas, your priorities might be different.

You could grow a longer-season climbing pea (such as some of the sugar snaps) then follow with a Fall planting of broccoli, chard, beets, or carrots. It's also possible that it might work out better to plant a quick crop of bush beans in Spring, cut them down immediately after harvest, and follow with a Fall crop of peas. Since the peas are fairly frost tolerant, this would extend the season in the other direction, as opposed to planting the peas first... but this way, there would be no overlap.

That's just a few possibilities, and there are many others. Experiment! And if you do follow beans with peas (or vice versa) please come back to let us know your results. ;-)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:29PM
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emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)

I tried this on my 30 ft trellis, and had the timing problem Zeedman mentions - the peas were just starting to pod when the beans should've been planted. An uncomfortable situation for everyone concerned:)

I trellis my squash/melons/cucumbers on an angled trellis, so I'm thinking to try the peas before the curcurbits this year. Also some bush peas before corn and maybe sweet potatoes. Maybe that'll do better.

I am determined to get a good harvest of shelling peas this year, which seems to mean many many plants.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 5:52PM
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