Beans supplying too much Nitrogen?

PunkRotten(9b)October 28, 2011

Hi,

I have a few bush bean plants in a few spots around my garden. I know legumes pull Nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it into the soil. Now, what kind of issues would this cause? What I mean is, do they add too much nitrogen to the point where it could affect fruiting plants?

Like would it be a bad idea to say, plant a tomato plant in a spot legumes were growing? I just wanna avoid leafy plants because of the extra Nitrogen.

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happyday(WI4a)

Don't worry, it isn't that much nitrogen. But why would you avoid leafy plants, since leafy plants would enjoy the extra nitrogen.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:56PM
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PunkRotten(9b)

No I meant I did not want to plant something that would get a lot of leaf growth at the expense of flowers/fruit cause of excess Nitrogen.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 11:46PM
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chaman(z7MD)

This is reason why Gardeners and Horticulturists rotate the crops.Corn is planted in the area where Legumes(beans etc.) were planted in the previous season.Corn is heavy consumer of Nitrogen produced by legumes.If you plant the beans in the same area every season there will be more than enough Nitrogen that will push the beans in heavy vegetative growth and there will be neligible production of fruits and flowers.Roots of legumes produce Nitrogen nodules which are biodegradable that will enrich the soil with Nitrogen.
I am posting the pic. of Nitrogen nodules produced by peanut plants.Roundish ball shaped structures are Nitrogen nodules.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 10:46PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Does that mean that if I keep planting my beans in the same place every year without rototilling, eventually I won't get much beans anymore, just vines? I always pull the vines and roots out and burn them every fall, I don't let them decompose in place.

People always ask about getting all vine and no beans, usually they are just impatient, but maybe this is a factor?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 12:15AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

happyday - not rototilling, rotating. ie not planting the same type of plant in the same place year after year.

Burning the bean plants is not a great idea unless they are badly diseased. You are losing nutrients from your garden that way. Better to compost them or cut the tops off and compost those while leaving the roots to decompose in the ground to release their nitrogen back into the soil. Personally, unless you are growing large numbers of beans year after year in exactly the same spot I don't think the additional nitrogen will have much effect at all on surrounding plants.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 1:06PM
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chaman(z7MD)

I agree with flora.Answer to your questions is yes.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 1:39PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Flora, I didn't mistake the word rotating for rototilling. I meant rototilling, as in mixing up the soil so that the nitrogen would get moved around and not be concentrated in one spot around the bean trellis base.

Your idea of leaving the roots to decompose would lead to a buildup of more nitrogen around the trellis base than if I pulled them, wouldn't it. So if I did grow beans in the same spot year after year, and left the roots to decompose, more and more nitrogen would build up till it became so much that the plants would be all vines and no beans. Sounds like Chaman is agreeing that yes, this would happen?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 9:43PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

OK happyday - I misunderstood. It was the way your first sentence was expressed that threw me.

The OP referred to 'a few bush beans' in 'a few spots', so I still maintain that on this small domestic scale there is really no point in worrying about build up of excess Nitrogen. The beans appear to be part of a mixed planting, not a large monoculture, and nitrogen is constantly lost from the soil environment anyway through the processes of volatilization, denitrification and leaching. Harvesting crops also removes nitrogen.

Happyday's situation is different from the OP's in that s/he is talking about growing a larger number of beans permanently in the same place. That's a different question from the OP's.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 6:07AM
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