Wonder if the cool weather will rot my beans?

anney(Georgia 8)April 10, 2010

I planted a bed of Fortex beans about a week ago, and since then one bean has shown its head above-ground. We've been having pretty cool weather the last two nights though daytime temps have been in the high 60s-high 80s. The lows for the last two nights have been low 40s-50s.

I suspect these temps are right on the cusp of what beans can tolerate and still germinate. Most sites say that daytime soil temperatures need to be 65 for beans to germinate, and mine have ranged between the 60s and 70s. Night-time soil temps are still in the mid- to high-50s.

I don't know what difference it will make, but Southern Exposure notes this: DARK- AND LIGHT-SEEDED BEANS: Dark-seeded beans are more resistant to rotting in cool soil than light- seeded beans. Beans need a minimum soil temperature of 65oF (18oC) to germinate well, otherwise rotting may occur.

Fortex beans are pretty dark, so I'm hoping that gives them a bit of extra protection against the cold. I guess we'll see.

Here is a link that might be useful: See the bottom of this page.

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cyrus_gardner(8)

Anney, I am in your area too. I have sprouted several beans (kentuky,...)
And have already put them in the ground. I did that in cold frame.
In the same tray I had hyacinth an cowbeans that failed. I think when
beans and peas cannot germinate , will rot(compost?)
I think you should be fine. I have even germinated okra outside, in a tray.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 11:42PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Not sure your experience applies. These beans weren't started in a cold frame. They were open-sowed, so my concern is about whether they'll germinate in fluctuating soil temps, some of which are not exactly optimal according to most research. If they germinate, most of my concerns will be alleviated. I'm keeping careful records and will post the results later.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 2:39AM
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happyday(WI4a)

Anney, if you think the soil temp is low enough to rot the beans you can stretch clear plastic over the row, maybe over a shallow hoop, till they all emerge. Or use wall-o-waters, or bricks to absorb/release heat, or black plastic beside but not over the row, etc. Lots of things you can do.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 1:19PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

happyday

If they haven't shown their heads above-ground by Monday, I think I'll do just that. Maybe suspend clear poly over the rows by attaching it low on the trellis shown below. Maybe the heat will inspire them to wake up!

The seeds still have their integrity. They aren't mushy -- they just haven't germinated yet except for the one. I'm waiting to spread the hay on this Fortex bed until the beans have germinated. I have a few radishes and marigolds there that have germinated but I can shift them around if needed.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 1:36PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

If it's any comfort, I've planted "Fortex" early in the past, when the soil was not quite warm enough. I used to try all my beans early, and just replant the dead spots. White-seeded beans suffered very poor germination under those conditions. "Fortex" took longer, and didn't fully germinate until conditions warmed up... but very few were lost to rot. I'd recommend giving them more time, they'll probably make it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 3:01PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

zeedman

You give me hope! I have some beans left and thought I'd replant if they don't come up soon. I think you are the first person who's verified by experience that the dark seeds are less prone to rot in cool soils and might germinate given more time than is usually claimed for germination to occur.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 3:43PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Anney, soil temperature does not fluctuates by night time, short lived temps. PLUS, I just said that I have germinated okra outside, NOT in cold frame.Never grow okra before but as I have heard it is a real heat worshipper. lol.And my pole and bush beans are doing great.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:14PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Anney, soil temperature does not fluctuates by night time, short lived temps.

Well, yes, it does. It just isn't as dramatic as ambient temps. Take a look at this site. In the "Select a Station" box, choose "Alpharetta". Then click on "31-day summary". That window will show ambient temps and soil temps for the past 31 days, among other pertinent information.

I am at that site a lot and check the ambient and soil temps frequently every Spring, have used the site for three years now. The soil temps shift frequently, sometimes several times a day, which this site provides on an hourly basis. I don't know which they use as the one for a specific day, but I imagine it's at noon each day for the maximums and midnight for the minimums.

When it's warmed up enough, I'll be able to put a thick mulch on the beds, and that will alleviate the soil temperature fluctuations significantly.

And apologies. I thought by this I have sprouted several beans (kentuky,...)
And have already put them in the ground. I did that in cold frame.

you meant you'd germinated your beans in a cold frame. Not sure what you meant, but not to worry!

Glad your beans are growing. I hope mine will.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 6:26AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

zeedman

I wanted to report that many of the Fortex beans have germinated and are vigorously growing! It took around 13 days for the very first ones to break through the soil, so the Fortex can tolerate nearly two weeks in cool soil (50-55 degrees average) without rotting.

I wish I'd known about the advantages of spacing them a bit farther apart, but I'll know for next year.

I planted the remainder of a packet of Italian pole beans yesterday left from last year and did space those around 6 inches. When things warm up a bit more, I'll plant the remainder of yet another packet of limas I had left over from last year with 18-inch spacing.

If these beans grow well and productively with your recommended spacing, it should be easy to get a great deal more production than if the plants are spaced by vendor recommendations.

Glad you did the groundwork that I can test out here!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 8:42AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Glad to hear the good news, Anney. I had the same results last year with "Emerite" (black seeded), which I think may be a cousin to "Fortex".

"I wish I'd known about the advantages of spacing them a bit farther apart, but I'll know for next year."

Actually, "Fortex" has less leaf cover than many pole beans, and can be more closely spaced. I thin to 2 @ 12".

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:17PM
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