Pole beans on tomato cages?

MykarmaApril 1, 2005

Hi, all-

I'm planning to plant pole beans for the first time. I'm wondering if it wouldn't work to plant them beside my tomato cages (which will indeed have tomato plants in them) and allow them to use the cages as their support. Would anyone have an opinion about why this would or wouldn't work? Do you think it would interfere with the tomatoes somehow? Thanks much.

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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Hmm, I think it might be difficult to find all the beans as well as the the tomatoes. Most bean vines can get pretty long and they would surely take over the cage, shading out your tomatoes.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Yes, I agree that's not a great idea. My tomatoes always overwhelm the cages. Adding beans to them would be way too much. I usually grow sugar snap peas on a trellis behind where the tomatoes go. Some years after the peas are done I plant beans on the same trellis. You might be able to use a big tomato cage with out tomatoes in it for your beans but a trellis or teepee would be better.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 12:39AM
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In my experience, tomato cages aren't even enough for tomatoes, let alone tomatoes AND pole beans.

One year, after I had figured out that tomato cages weren't enough for tomatoes, I decided to wire several tomato cages together and grow the pole beans up the tomato cage towers. But that didn't work either.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 7:27AM
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caosesvida(zone 7 del.)

if you can find some concrete reinforcing wire, you can make them any size you want, almost. They last for years. I make very large ones for tomato and cucumber, the beans I think might be better with poles and string.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 9:38AM
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Thank you all; I am convinced. Bad idea. I'm always looking for a workless solution :-)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 2:18PM
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- Tomato cages are fine - for eggplants, peppers, and other "mid-height" plants, and can be used to stabilized the base of tall rigid plants with weak bases (such as hollyhocks.) But tomatoes just overwhelm the cages.

- Beans have pretty flowers, even regular pole beans. So, you could grow them as a psuedo-ornimental, which may expand you range of growing site options.

- i make bean trellises out of kennel mesh wire fencing; any kind of wire fencing will do; actually, bean vines are light enough that nylon netting, like fishnetting, would work just fine. The key is to be able to access BOTH side of the trellis.

- Most pole beans will grow 10' if you let 'em; make the trellis as tall as you can comphortably reach, or, if you enjoy the aesthetics of it, go taller! Beans are also great for pergolas and other over-head trelising; they don't make a mess below, as grape vines do, and don't require the industrial strength support system than heavy wisteria vines need.

- i cut the mesh into 2' wide panels and nailed one end to the eves of my toolshed, so th4e panels hung down at right angles to the wall (easy to access both sides) at 1-foot intervals (just because that's how far apart the roof beams were.) The vines swarmed up and also reached from one panel to the next; the wall was smothered with pretty bean vines.

- i also set up 5' tall walls of mesh running down the center of each bed in my veggie garden, running norht to south so they cast no noon shade on the shorter crops. i stabilized the trelises with cheapie arbor arches (from the "Everything is $14--" catalog.") Or i stabilized the arches with the trelising fencing; it's a mutal support thing! These arches actually LOOK fine, they're just not quite as sturdy without a bit of support, and look GREAT, not obviously cheapies, when they've got vines on 'em.)

- my all-time favorite pole bean is the Purple Podded Pole Bean from the Vermont Bean Seed Company. They have very pretty flowers which attract butterflies. The pods turn purple when they are ready to be picked, so you KNOW which are ready and they are easy to find, even amidst the wildest tangle of vines. And, unlike soem purple beans, ONLY the pods, not the vines themselves, turn colour, so when "bean hunting" you don't have to distingush slender bean from fat vine, a great boon to those of us with poor eyesight. Here in Maryland, they are also self-seeding!

- i always leave some beans to fatten and save the seeds for hte next years crop; if you want some, please do not hesitate to ask; i enjoy sharing seeds and plants. (If you ask me for bean seeds, you might as well as for a few strawberry plants too; they need thinning, and it is as easy to pack up a big box o' plants as a small one!)

- i'd like to hear about other folk's creative adventures in bean (or other) trellising!

- Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 9:05AM
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creatrix(z7 VA)

I use the really tall green garden stakes- 8', I think. I sink 3 of them in a circle (angled towards each other) and tie the tops like a teepee. I do this for 'maters and pole beans. I use the velcro plant ties to anchor the tomatos to the poles, and just let the beans do their thing. Sometimes, I take jute string and circle the poles for the beans to have something to grab in between the poles. The teepees have survived hurricanes without coming down.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 6:17PM
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