Storing Inoculant?

Katxena(z7 MD)June 2, 2008

I'm a relatively new gardener. I'm growing bush beans for the first time this year, and I bought a combo inoculant from Bountiful Gardens.

My garden is small. I've already planted 12 seeds, and I'll be planting 15 more over the next few weeks. That will leave me with TONS of inoculant!

Will I be able to use it next year? I put it in a 1/2 pint jar and closed it tightly. How should it be stored to extend it's usefulness? And how will I know when it's not good anymore?

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How much do you have left, a packet of an ounce or two, or a big canister of several ounces?

Do the directions say that the bean inoculant has a one year shelf life and you must use the entire packet within 24 hours of opening it? If so, would it be best to spread all of the leftovers in the garden? Would it reproduce itself in the soil versus die in the jar?

I hope that the microorganisms are still alive within at least a week or two of opening, because sometimes it takes more than a single day to get everything planted. When I have leftovers, I mix with water and water the bean rows with it. But I only buy one small packet per year, so it is not a big loss.

Here is a link that might be useful: One example of inoculant shelf life directions

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 6:20PM
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Katxena(z7 MD)

I have a couple of ounces left, and it wasn't expensive. I just don't want to be unnecessarily wasteful.

The packet says that once it's applied to the seed, the seeds should be planted within 24 hours. But it says nothing about what to do with the leftovers, nor does it have an expiration date.

I guess I'll mix it with water and water the area that I will be succession planting my bush beans into over the next few weeks, so that the bacteria will hopefully be in the dirt when the beans get planted.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 6:20AM
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"The packet says that once it's applied to the seed, the seeds should be planted within 24 hours"

Never seen that warning. Are you sure that is what it says? What is the exact wording on the package?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 7:39AM
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Katxena(z7 MD)

It says "Re-inoculate seed if not planted with 24-hours of application." The brand name is GUARD-N. I just double checked, and there's no expiration date on it anywhere, and no instructions for storage.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 6:34PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"The packet says that once it's applied to the seed, the seeds should be planted within 24 hours"

Happy, I've seen the same advice on inoculant I purchased. If applied moist, the inoculant has been activated, and will die if not planted. This is not really unusual, if you think about it. The bean seeds themselves, once exposed to moisture, will also likely die if not planted... just not that fast.

Personally, I prefer to use inoculant dry, sprinkled into the hole at time of planting. This preserves both seed, and inoculant. The directions that came with mine said that while it could be used either way, it is less effective applied dry, so I use generous amounts.

As for the "use within 24 hours of opening"... what, are you kidding??? Considering that I start some beans as transplants, and direct-seed others over what is usually a one-week time frame, I would need a lot of separate bags of inoculant!!! I just keep the bag sealed between uses, in a portable cooler to prevent over-heating.

Still, I suppose I'll have to try the slurry method on one bean variety this year immediately after opening, just to see if it makes a difference.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 7:12PM
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