is it warm enough to plant?

johndoug(z6 Philly)May 19, 2009

i have king of garden limas i need to plant. the forecast is high in the mid 70's and low in the low to mid 50's, and i don't think it will get colder than this.

would you think the soil temp is warm enough to plant? last year was the first year i did pole beans, and i soaked them overnight and planted.

do you think it is best to plant them in the morning (before leaving for work), where they have warm temps ahead? as opposed to the evening, when cold temps are ahead? curious if there was a theory behind this for early in the germination phase and right after you plant.


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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

When you put your hand in the prepared ground does it feel chilly, cool, neutral, pleasantly warm, or hot?

Beans, corn, and melons, in my experience, like pleasantly warm to hot but may be OK sitting in the neutral end of cool-to-neutral and sprout as soon as its truly warm.

My experience is that you get poor germination and sluggish growth if the soil doesn't feel at least lukewarm for those things.

Of course if you've just had the same cold rains we had the temperature at the moment may not reflect the real conditions, which will reveal themselves as the sogginess soaks in and the sun comes back out. :-)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 5:48PM
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We had all of the beans we planted germinate yesterday or the day before, in more or less the same weather. But we planted under clear plastic, which definitely warms the ground up rather quickly.

Good thing my wife checked in on the garden today, because the sprouts were getting squashed by the plastic which was weighed down by rain. I think she put some kind of shell over them, and the plastic back on top.

So, you ought to be able to have the beans germinate in 10 days or so if you use plastic or something else to warm the soil up, and if you get some warm sunny days in there.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 10:42PM
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The soil is warming up and it seems like it is good to go for beans.You can get two bean plantings a year in your zone.
Get them in the ground by June 1st and then another in July.
One year we had cold wet weather and the beans rotted in the ground.I had a second try in July and they did just fine.
So just keep an eye on the temperature and the rain and be patient.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 10:39PM
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johndoug(z6 Philly)

I'm intrigued by this "second planting". Does this mean that if you only do one early planting, that by late summer, the plants will be petered out? And that if i have a second late planting, then when the earlies are dying, the late ones will be thriving?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:52PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

My bush beans always peter out after a couple of weeks of producing. This year I might do a second planting, too.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 3:01PM
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When I grew bush beans, they kept resetting pods after picking all summer. They would reflower within a few days of picking. What kind of bush beans do you have Caryltoo? I had Dragon Tongue and yellow wax. Have you tried giving them a few days or weeks to see if they reflower?

Now I mostly grow pole beans. But I was under the impression that all beans will keep trying to reset flowers after picking, right up until frost. Their ambition is to mature seed before winter, so even if you picked all nearly mature, shelly beans late in the season, I bet they would reflower even in the late fall/early winter and try again, right up until snowfall if the frost didn't kill them.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:24PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

I get multiple pickings off Dragon Langerie too -- if I keep them clean picked before beans reach the shell stage.

If a bean gets away and gets that mature the plant "thinks" its job is done and stops.

Many varieties, especially those bred for commercial purposes, are programed to ripen all their beans at once. Then they die.

IIRC, both Contender and Teepee did that to me a dozen years ago and I was mad because I didn't have enough of my short, New England summer left to replant. But the Royal Burgundies and the Dragon Langeries kept on going until the Mexican Bean Beetles, no longer having their preferred green varieties to chomp on, killed them.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:44PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

A friend planted limas about a week ago and they are emerging now. I think your conditions must be similar to the ones here, so I say go ahead and plant. Don't pay much attention to air temperature. It's soil temperature which is important and that depends mostly on how much sun is striking the soil. An inexpensive dial thermometer from a housewares department is useful for measuring soil temperature. Soil temperatures in the neighborhood of 80°F are optimum for beans although 70°F is OK.

Second plantings work well for common bush beans. King of the Garden is a pole lima however. Limas and pole beans take longer to start bearing and bear over a more extended period. I would not expect a second planting with KOG.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:06PM
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