Are beans and tomatoes compatible?

by Myrna
(Tehama, CA)

Q. I have heard that beans and tomatoes are

not compatible. Is this true?

And if so, is this for rotational purposes only
or should I not plant my beans and tomatoes near each other? And how far away from each other should they be? Thanks for any help you can give.


Tomato Dirt responds
A. Beans and tomatoes have very different nutrient needs and different watering needs. If you can control those, then there is no reason why they can't be planted and grow them together. Lots of gardeners have successfully done so.

As far as nutrients go, tomatoes need much more nitrogen than beans. Beans don't tolerate high levels of soil nitrogen. That's because they produce their own. They host their own nitrogen-fixing bacteria (as do other legumes). Nitrogen encourages leaf growth. If you supplied the same amount of nitrogen to your beans as you do to your tomatoes, the beans would be huge but produce few beans. If you go easy on the nitrogen for tomatoes, they'll be weak. So if you plant tomatoes close to beans, make sure you balance out your nutrient and fertilizer applications appropriately.

As for watering, tomatoes require consistent soil moisture -- about 1-2 inches a week. Beans need water only infrequently and can dry out in between watering without suffering. If you can water your tomatoes without drowning your nearby beans (such as by using soaker hoses on tomatoes) then you'll be in business!

Learn more about best and worst companion plants for tomatoes here.

Good luck and happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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