Like all legumes, beans help fix nitrogen in the soil, making them a must-have in any garden (vegetable or otherwise!). We know gardeners who grow them anytime they have a patch of bare soil, and don’t even worry about harvesting the seeds — it’s all about using the plant as a nutrient-builder for the soil! But if, like most of us, you want to grow beans to eat, there are a few vegetables, herbs, and flowers that should not be grown in the same area of the garden.

I do my pest-fighting job too well around beans, killing off beneficial bacteria that helps them grow.

I do my pest-fighting job too well around beans, killing some of the bacteria that helps them grow.

Onions

A big pest fighter elsewhere in the garden, onions do your beans no favors. There is evidence that they can actually stunt the growth of bean plants! If your available space is limited and you want onions as well as beans, consider making a perimeter planting of onions and then putting the beans in the center, as far from the perimeter as possible.

Let's face it -- you weren't going to plant me anyway!

Let’s face it — you weren’t going to plant me anyway!

Brassicas

Otherwise known as the cabbage family, this is a big group of vegetables that includes broccoli, cauliflower, and many more. But the two Brassicas most often singled out as bean foes are cabbage and especially kohlrabi. Note that pole beans are more strongly affected than bush.

However, Brassicas make a good succession planting after the beans are harvested. They benefit from the richer soil. Consider beans for your main summer season, followed by a fall crop from the cabbage family!

I want to be alone. . .or at least far from the beans!

Fennel

Poor fennel. It really is a wonderful herb, but not a good friend to many vegetables. It can stunt the growth of bean plants, both pole and bush types.

Basil

Another growth stunter. Save it for the tomato patch!

Who knew I could be so deadly? Most of the time I'm just a mild-mannered spice!

Who knew I could be so deadly? Most of the time I’m just a mild-mannered spice!

Mexican Marigolds (Tarragon)

You probably weren’t planning to set dozens of these plants among your beans, but think twice about using even one. Tagetes lucida actually behaves like an herbicide around beans and cabbage. Yikes!

I have a condition. We discussed this last time. Let it go.

I have a condition. We discussed this last time. Let it go.

Sunflowers

As we discussed last time in the piece on bean friends, Sunflowers release a chemical that can stunt the growth of pole (but not bush) beans. Sunflower is known as the Fourth Sister in the traditional Native American Three Sisters planting, but this sister may have to stand guard a good distance from the beans!

What did I ever do but try to bring a little beauty into the bean patch?

What did I ever do but try to bring a little beauty into the bean patch?

Gladiolus

Another growth inhibitor, this one bad for both parties. Show off the Glads elsewhere!

Beets

Beets are fine among your bush beans, but they can affect the growth of pole beans.


Next up: carrots!

 

 

About Sappho Charney

Sappho Charney is a garden writer living in Lubbock, Texas.

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