After reading Carrots Love Tomatoes, the past two growing seasons we’ve been experimenting with companions planting. We already have our carrots planted with our tomatoes and now we are trying beans and cucumbers together. Beans, as with most legumes (like our winter fava cover crop), draw up nitrogen from down deep in the soil, brings it up and fixes it as little white nitrogen nodules to their roots. You don’t have to fertilize beans, in fact they really don’t like being fertilized, because they can do it themselves.
Cucumbers on the other hand are heavy feeders and like a lot of fertilization. But we’ve read if you plant them along with plenty of beans, the beans fertilize the cucumbers without you having to do a thing. We like that ‘not having to do a thing’ part, a lot! And so far, its worked. We have both more beans and cucumbers than we can eat and both plants look happy and healthy.
The only issue we’ve found with planting these two together is that cucumbers like a little more water and beans like a little less water. We’ve done our best to accommodate both by focusing our water on the cucumbers and it seems to be working.
If you haven’t read Carrots Love Tomatoes you should give it a try. It has really helped us.
Also, A Sonoma Garden is featured in this week’s Home Preserving Blog Carnival. Go see what other home preservers are doing.