Unknown bean phenomenon: hybrid or chance misplant?

Angelshark8August 19, 2014

I am 17 years old, and I have been a major gardener four the last 3.5 to 4 years. I am new to this forum, and I finally decided to join with the hope that someone could explain a strange phenomenon with several legumes I have been trying to grow.

In march of this year, I planted the next generation of plants. In addition to the usuals, I decided to retry some beans I last grew two years ago. I had saved part of that crop for replanting, but they did not sprout the following year, and I assumed they were unviable. Like I do with most of the seeds I have, however, I tend to give them one more chance to shine by spam planting every seed I have in a hope that some will grow to collect healthy seeds next year.

I did that this year, but put them into my new 16 section planting tray. Three weeks later, the beans still had not sprouted, so dug I out each seeds, made a little hole, plopped them in to rot and poured the potting mix out of the tray to fill in the hole. In mid June, I saw a mass of plants matter coming up in the garden. Instead of weeding them, I investigated and found that the beans I planted had finally sprouted as I looked at one splitting through its shell.

As time passed, however, they looked different than the pole beans I remembered. They are flowering now and they look more like fava beans than the common bean.

I did not own any fava beans at the time they were planted (I got some fava beans in June, but I do not remember when) and the seeds I do have are for the winter planting. Even if I did plant some fava beans and forget, it does not explain why the beans are in a large mass of 14-16 stems. If I was experimenting, I would have planted them in a more proper manner because these unknown plants are extrmely cramped. Five barely even grew. I have seen fava beans create multiple stems, but the stems on these plants show no sign of connection to a single root system. I have dug around to check because I do not want to risk the loss of some beans, so there is no way to be sure.

I will see what their beans look like when they develop and examine the root systems when the plants die, but for now, I would like any help in identifying the plants I have.

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The species is supposed to be the common garden bean. (I forgot to state that.)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I notice that no one has posted to help you out. I am not a plant expert and often find myself in a similar situation (usually because the squirrels have been playing in my containers). An app I downloaded has been a HUGE help: Garden Compass Plant/Disease Identifier.

I hope this is able to help you get some answers. Good luck in your continuing gardening journey!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 11:12AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

However this happened, what you have is a stand of true fava beans, and not some mutation.

Labeling or record keeping issues would be my first guess as to the cause. If that is not the case, then my next best guess would be that rodents gathered the seeds from somewhere nearby, placing them in a burrow. I had this happen several years ago with soybeans; a large, concentrated clump came up one spring. I had tilled the previous Fall, probably destroying the burrow. Something similar is most likely the cause here.

Over the years, I have found rodent seed stores in several locations, sometimes in a vehicle or outbuilding. If something happens to the rodent, the seeds are then left uneaten.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 5:36PM
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