How to Plant Pole Beans in Corn

Native Americans introduced the practice of growing multiple plants and herbs together hundreds of years ago. This technique, known as companion planting, was introduced to cultivate multiple crops in limited space. It initially started with growing beans, corn and squash – referred to as the three sisters – together. The corn stalks are used as trellis by the pumpkin and pole bean plants, while the legumes add nitrogen to the soil, making soil more fertile for corn. Development of farming tools made it easy for the farmers to cultivate large areas of land, declining the practice of companion planting. However, if you have limited space, you can use this ancient technique to cultivate multiple crops at a time.

Things Required:

– Corn seeds or plants
– Pole bean seeds or plants
– Soft string or pantyhose (optional)
– Shovel or rototiller
– Organic matter


  • 1

    Get the seeds

    The first step in growing beans and corn together is to purchase good quality seeds of both the plants from the local nursery or garden store.

  • 2

    Decide the location

    Both corn and bean plants prefer rich, fertile and well-drained sites that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight.

  • 3

    Prepare the soil

    Rocky soil is usually less favourable for a stockier corn plant than a robust root system to support its own weight, height as well as the added stress from the ears of corn. Till the soil deep (at least 8 to 10 inches deep) with a shovel or rototiller to make a proper bed for the corn to root. Spread  a 2 to 3 inch layer of decomposed manure, peat moss and organic compost over the area and work it out into the soil with the shovel. Also add granular fertilizer following the directions on the package.

  • 4

    Space the rows correctly

    Since corn needs cross pollination to produce ears of corn, spacing and number of rows is critical. For good pollination, make at least four to six rows, 10 feet long and spaced five feet.

  • 5

    Sow corn seeds

    Plant each corn seed to a depth of one inch in a mound 18 inches in diameter and 4 inches high. Make sure you keep a distance of six inches between seeds in all directions. Water the bed thoroughly and keep the soil moist until germination takes place (in five to seven days).

  • 6

    Plant beans

    Plant beans several weeks after your corn plants, when the latter is at least 4 inches high. This will give the bean plants proper trellis to climb on. If you plant the beans too early, there will be no corn stalk for them to climb on. Sow three to four bean seeds to a depth of one inch and at a distance of three inches from corn plants. Water the soil thoroughly and keep it slightly moist before the seedlings sprout (in seven to ten days).

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