My bush beans didn't germinate

tcstoehrJune 27, 2007

I planted an 8-foot row spacing them 3 inches apart.

Only a few came up, and those that did had no leaf development when they popped up. They were new seeds, Blue Lake and Pencil Pod Wax. No inoculents or fungicide. Daily high temperatures ranged from 68 to 85. Quite cool nights. The soil was kept moist but not continuously soggy. Although temporarily soggy at watering time. Soil is sandy loam and drains and dries quite quickly. Beans were pushed into soft, well-worked soil sideways and covered.

What are the probable causes?

Too much water and rotted?

Not enough water and dried out?

Weather too cool?

Planting orientation?

I wonder if that one 85 degree day we had dried them up real bad before I could get home and water them. I doubt it cuz the soil was still slightly moist an inch or two down.

I've replanted and our daily high temps are in 70s and nightly lows in the 50s this week. Is that warm enough?

Does the planting orientation matter? Should the 'eye' face up, down or sideways? Or does it matter? I made a point of planting them on end with the eye sideways this time.

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No leaf development sounds like the stumps that slugs and snails leave behind, once they have feasted on just sprouted beans. Mice and pigeons also do great damage to seedling beans and probably other creatures in your area as well.

Your temperatures are warm enough for beans to sprout, if it wasn't we would not be able to sprout beans here in Britain at all.

I think you have two unknown quantities. Firstly, is the seed viable? Secondly, what is reducing my beans to stumps and how can I overcome that? I have never heard of a disease problem preventing leaf development.

What works for me is sowing beans indoors, preferably in small individual pots, cell trays or newspaper pots. They can go in anyway, eyes up or down makes no difference. Starting your seeds under controlled conditions should determine whether your seeds germinate or not. When you have grown your plants to the two real leaves stage, transplant them and protect them. In areas that are not too hot you can protect each individual plant with a plastic cola bottle with bottom cut off, pushed into the ground and the cap taken off.

If you don't want to start the seedlings indoors, you can do a germination test. Take 10 beans, place them onto a wetted sheet of kitchen towel, fold over and place inside a ziplock bag in a warm place, but not in direct sun heat. From day 3 onwards check every day to see how many have germinated.

Some people deliberately pre-sprout seeds as you do for a germination test, then very carefully transplant the seeds when the root is showing, and cover with only a thin layer of fine soil.

Wish you better luck with your next batch

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 6:56PM
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Yes, I could use some luck here. I must say I'm not used to having seeds not grow when I plant them. This time I planted a test area that I can dig up a bean every now and then to see how things are going. If it doesn't work this time, I'll try sprouting them indoors.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 11:55AM
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