Planting Nitrogen Fixing Beans or Cover Crops with Potted Fruit Trees?

I’m thinking about planting low growing beans in my potted fruit trees in the spring, cutting them off at the base (to leave the roots in tact in the container) when they produce some bean pods and then in the fall doing the same thing with a cover crop like crimson clover.

How horrible of an idea is this?

What are you hoping to accomplish by doing this? If it’s just to add nitrogen, you could add used coffee grounds (actually not very acidic) or even use untreated grass clippings as kind of a mulch. (I assume you’re trying to go organic from the cover crop idea?). If you just want to give them a gentle feeding, why not compost or an organic fertilizer?

TLDR: It seems to me that growing cover crops with your fruit trees will be more work (and will possibly pull water/nutrients away from your trees) than just doing whatever it is you want to do directly.

1 Like

The nitrogen is the added bonus, but mainly I’m looking to expand my growing space. My thought was that it wouldn’t harm the production of my fruit trees too much, and perhaps in the long run benefit them while also giving me a good crop of beans!

I just don’t know if it’s worth it.

i planted a ton of nitrogen fixing fava beans in my orchard this year. once they flower and the bees finish up with them im planning to cut them at the base and use the tops as green manure. Not sure how this will work but i love to experiment.

Yeah. They are great for in ground stuff. I’m wondering if the same applies to containers.

Having something besides fruit in your containers will reduce the fruit tree size and yield. A container can only supply so much water and nutrients. It can go to trees or beans. Plus in a pot you need to fertilize regularly to maintain vigor. The beans will compete with the trees more so than supply nutrients.

I thought it was a long shot. Do you use organic or synthetic fertilizers, Steven?

Mostly synthetic but also cotton seed meal and ground alfalfa.

1 Like