What kind of container do you use when you start beans indoors?
Do you set them out when they have the first set of true leaves?
Any other information would be helpful.
I never start beans indoors. They emerge so quickly when direct seeded. But I understand you may have reasons for doing so. I would transplant them soon as the first true leaves have spread out full size.
I'm curious. Does your screen name have anything to do with the song My Blue Heaven?
Unlike Jim's location in the east, here in the PNW the soils do not get warm enough in the spring to easily sprout bean seeds until it is a bit late for planting.
So starting bean seeds indoors gives a good head start.
The following method works great: Start bean seeds two weeks before weather will be warm enough to put them outside. Use 3 inch peat pots. Fill them with a good container mix and place them on plastic trays that have one inch of sand or container mix.
As soon as the plants appear, they should be moved to a solar greenhouse. If that is not available, put them near a very sunny window. They tend to get leggy if kept under a grow light. The roots will push through the bottoms of the peat pots and continue growing below the pot.
When it is time to plant them outdoors, lift them out of the trays being careful to not damage the roots below the pots. If there is a lip of the pot that goes above the soil line, tear that off. If you plant them out with the lip still on, it can wick water away from the roots. - Dick
if i need to get a head start, due to rainy or cold weather or have a later season variety in a short season climate, or have just a small number of seeds and can't risk losing even one, i'll start some in doors about 2 weeks early. any earlier than that doesn't have any advantage. they get root bound, or too tall if they are pole beans. i start them in plastic inserts, whatever i have laying around. use a little care in transplanting, and water them in. they will grow. a long time ago, i started seeds in a cardboard strawberry flat filled with planting mix. i put it in the back window of the family car. greenhouse on wheels. they did very well that year. the type of container isn't important. use a seed starting mix plant the seed, add water, that's all it takes.
Another indoor starter here. Any pot around the size of a yoghurt pot will do. I use modules. I would not use peat pots because of the risk of the pot drying out (especially if planted with the rim above soil level). drloyd's instructions are pretty much what I do. Only one thing though. Remember to harden them off before planting out.
Thank you all for you help.
jimster - The Molly in my user name is for my adorable little dog who we rescued from the animal shelter. She is my garden watch dog and when I am in the garden she is always with me.
It's nice to hear about your little gardening companion, Margaret.
In case you don't know My Blue Heaven (a very nice song), the phrase I had in mind goes:
"Just Molly and me,
And baby makes three.
We're happy in my blue heaven."
Add me to the list of those who start beans as transplants, for most of the reasons already given by Drloyd & Rxkeith. The weather doesn't always cooperate here; it is often too cool or too wet at the recommended planting time. If I can't get the seeds into the ground on time, I start them in pots.
Furthermore, I grow a lot of beans for dry seed, some of which are a stretch for my season. Transplants are often the edge needed to ensure success.
Peat pots (and pot strips) have always worked well for me for starting beans & cucurbits. Those plants don't spend much time in the pot before transplanting. I use the 3" pots for the larger-seeded beans (such as limas) and the 32 cell/flat square pots for most Phaseolus beans. For the smaller Vigna beans (cowpeas, adzuki, mung) I use even smaller peat strips, 50 cell/flat.
I line the bottom of the flat with a little play sand & push the pots/strips into the sand before watering. The layer of sand helps counter the tendency of peat pots to dry out (by acting as a reservoir) and discourages mold & algae. It also allows the tap root to grow without air pruning. These roots can be pulled from the sand when transplanted; and if handled carefully & kept moist, the extra roots minimize transplanting shock.
As already mentioned, beans do poorly under lights... but you can get better germination in warm indoor temperatures than you can in cool soil. When germination begins, I put them outside immediately. I've been able to keep them in the pots up to the point where the first true leaf is fully grown; much after that, and the plants will likely be stunted.
For the most part, bean transplants only make sense for pole varieties, since the yield per plant is so high. But in areas with very short seasons - or if saving seed - even bush beans might benefit from transplants.
But Margaret, judging by your zone, there should be no need for you to start beans as transplants. How do you intend to use them?
zeedman and others who may be wondering why someone in zone 9 would start beans indoors
I have been gardening for more than 40 years and it is in my blood! I absolutely must be involved with planting some things. Right now I am physically unable to plant seeds directly in the garden but I can start them in peat pot or other containers. Depending on the weather they will not stay indoors past the first signs of germination then they will be set outside until they are big enough to plant in the garden.
After reading some of your posts I really want to try a few less common varieties of heirloom beans and cow peas. My hubby willingly plants anything I want even though he thinks that purple hull peas and Blue Lake pole beans are good enough.
Thank you all for your response. I would never have thought of putting the peat pots in sand. What a great idea.
I've never had trouble directly seeding beans outdoors until the last couple of years. This year has been particularly wet and I've had to replace a few that were pulled out and some that were eaten. So far the beans under a permanent cover are doing really well (direct seeded), the Uncle Steve's were germinated in a pot of loose No#4 mix, as soon as the cotyledons appeared the pot was gently dumped out, these were planted in their permanent location and are doing really well other than the odd nibble.
I think from now on I'm going to start all my beans in No#4 mix and transplant when the cotyledons appear. they don't seem to have been set back by this method.
My replacement beans were done this way and they have caught up to the survivors which have really had a lot to contend with this year torrential rain at times and even hail.
HERE IN THE SOUTH I START MY BEANS OFF AROUND APRIL 10TH IN SINGLE 3 INCH POTS ON MY WINDOW SILL.I transplant to large containers when first true leaves are fully opened.I have 3 very large containers side by side and wrap fleece around pots and secure with pegs to the canes about 1ft above.When frosts are past remove fleece.My Runner beans are now at top of canes and in full bloom.Yippee beans when they are dead expensive in the shops
I to have trouble with direct seeding. Critters or slugs (and maybe earthworms, lol) like to go after them. I start my beans in old saved nursery cell packs outside up on a cart. It works great.
I decided to start beans indoors in two inch peat pots in a mix of half Fafard Professional Potting mix and half Purple Cow Organics compost with some vermiculite and perlite added. I picked up some legume inoculant for them and I'm not sure to put the indoculant in with the bean seeds when I start them or in the planting holes when I plant them out. They're going into a plot with a lot of municipal compost mixed in so I'm not sure if inoculant is really necessary, but it's already bought and paid for. Any suggestions on when to add the inoculant?
I wondered the same thing about the inoculant. I am doing both. I soaked my seed, over night, then drained it and put it in a baggie with inoculant and covered them "shake & bake" style, before sowing them. Since I only used about 1/3 of the stuff, I'll add the rest to the garden soil when I transplant. Inoculant has a short shelf life, so there is not point in keeping the extra.