use inoculant after planting?

wild_foragerMarch 11, 2008

I ordered pea inoculant and got fast shipping, but it turns out that the company I used didn't have it ready, so now I won't have it in time for when I want to plant my sugar snap peas. Can I go ahead and plant the peas, then mix the inoculant into the top layer of soil afterwards?

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Chances are, your peas will do just fine without the inoculant.

I did an experiment last year on several legumes: beans, runner beans, cowpeas, green gram (mung) and garbanzos. Soybeans were included also, but rabbits ate one of the rows. You will note that I did NOT test garden peas (I will this year).

There are different inoculants for each legume species, and many combinations are commonly sold. Beans (snap or dry, limas, and runner beans) and peas generally use the same inoculant, in a "garden combo". Vignas (cowpeas, mung, adzuki) need a different combination. Soybeans require their own, as do garbanzos.

Two rows were planted, one treated with inoculant, the other untreated. For all but the cowpeas, there was no noticeable difference in yield. The bacteria are, apparently, already present in the soil... either that, or the inoculant had only a negligible effect.

The cowpeas, however, produced more & larger pods on the treated row. And as an unintended result of the experiment, I also had not treated my yardlongs with inoculant, for the first time since I have grown them (they are the same species as cowpeas). It was their worst year ever, even with varieties that have proven themselves reliable... one I've grown for 15 years, with never a failure.

My soil is fertile, and I had used inoculants on the same ground for many years (with the exception of the garbanzo). On poor soils, or where beans & peas have never been grown before, inoculant might have more pronounced results - at least for the first year. But based upon my own observations, I wouldn't worry too much if you plant without it - except for cowpeas & yardlongs, for which I highly recommend its use.

Gardenlad, I hope you're lurking out there somewhere... you win. ;-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 9:37PM
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That sounds great, except that I'm growing them in pots. It seems like I probably will need it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 2:52PM
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I couldn't locate any inoculate for a virgin plot so I used some soil from an area I planted last year hoping that it would act as an inoculate?


    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:46PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Reviving this question: I've put some store-bought pea seedlings in the ground, and would like to add some inoculant. Can I water it in now?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 2:09PM
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It should be possible to water innoculant in. It is a bacteria, and ought to be able to move through the soil to find the bean roots just as it would if you had put it in the row with the beans when planting. Might be good to scratch it in to the top layer or to cover it with mulch in case it can be damaged by sunlight.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:08PM
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