Questions re: Innoculant

susanlynne48(OKC7a)April 23, 2012

Do I need to use an innoculant when planting my bean seeds in containers?

I am reading that innoculant is recommended when planting beans in an area where legumes have not been planted previously, therefore lacking the nitrogen fixing nodules that remain in the soil after the beans are long gone. In that case, I understand where using an innoculant might be necessary and beneficial for future plantings.

However, what would that bacteria really do for containerized beans that just good organic fertilizers like fish emulsion, green sand, kelp meal, bat guano, whatever, won't do?

I appreciate your responses.


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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Whether to us it or not is a matter of choice. I use it when planting in areas that didn't have legumes in them the previous year.

Innoculant gives you healthier plants and higher yields so that's why you would use it. It improves the plants performance in the currant year not just improving the soil for future years.

When you grow in containers using slow-release organic fertilizers, the beans need all the help they can get because beans produce relatively quickly, meaning they are needing to grow fast and produce fast but they are in an organic mix that generally is taken up and used more slowly. By innoculating the bean seeds at planting time, you're enhancing their ability to fix nitrogen from the air which allows them to capture nitrogen from the air continuously to supplement whatever nitrogen is in the growing mix. Remember that every time it rains or every time you water, some of the nutrients leach from the container, so beans that can fix their own nitrogen from the air are less likely to stall or slow down because they are short on nitrogen.

After I plant my beans in the ground, they never get fed again by me because they can get all the nutrients they need from the soil or by fixing nitrogen from the air. When you plant them in the containers, it is a little more complicated than that since you have no way of knowing if there are any beneficial microbes or bacteria in your potting mix that will help them. (Unless you've added those too.) I think it likely that bean plants need the innoculant more in containers than if they were in the ground.

Will the beans grow and produce in containers if not innoculated? Sure. But I believe they grow and produce better with it. However, you'll never really know for sure unless you plant identical beans in identical pots, using innoclant with one and not with the other to see if there's a discernable difference.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Thanks, Dawn, that is what I needed to know. I'm sure Horn's has some.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 6:40PM
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