Pea and Bean newbie in Berks

matriarchy(6 in PA)April 9, 2008

I have not grown peas or beans before, but I want to try this year. I planted peas outdoors on March 20, but have not seen a single sprout yet. I didn't do the damp towel thing - I just followed the seed pack instructions.

I tried dampening some Taylor Dwarf Horticultural Beans that I got in a seed swap last year, but none of them germinated. Not sure if I did it wrong, or of it was the beans. They swelled up a bit - but more like they expected to be cooked, not planted.

Green beans and garden peas are great, but I really want peas and beans to dry for soup. Are peas for soup just garden peas that matured? Where can I find the pea innoculant I keep reading about - garden centers don't seem to carry it.

What about beans? What shell beans do other gardeners have luck with around in Central and SE PA? I'd prefer heirloom or open-pollinated varieties so I can save seeds and grow my favorites every year.

Thanks in advance for sharing your suggestions.

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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I am not familiar with the varieties you'd grow to have dried peas or dried beans, but I have grown lots of both. I follow advice I got from "The Victory Garden" book that I was given a long time ago - old advice but still good. I plant peas in a trench about an inch deep and 6 inches wide. I plant lots of peas -enough that they are perhaps an inch apart in all dorections across the bottom of the trench. After covering the seed with soil, I push bare trigs into the soil to create a sort of trellis of branches that the peas can climb - the height of the trellis depends on the height of the pea variety you have selected. Peas can be planted early, but they will germinate a lot faster when the soil warms up. Neither peas nor beans have to be soaked before planting. Each pea vine is a rather stringy thing, so having a lot of them close together gives a much better harvest per square foot of garden.

I usea similar technique when planting bush beans - a wide row with lots of beans planted in the bottom, but no need to provide any brush. Pole beans need a nice sturdy support to twine around.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 1:12PM
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matriarchy(6 in PA)

My peas are right below a fence that will support them, but I will definitely keep the twig/trench in mind for next year, and for this year's beans. Thanks!

My peas did indeed sprout late last week, so I feel better about that. I figure we will eat some of the peas fresh, and then let some dry on the vine and see if that produces "dried peas."

One of those Taylor beans finally produced something that looked like a root, so I planted it in a pot to see what happens. I'm on the lookout for other kinds of beans that look like they are mean to be dried.

Since this is my first year for legumes, I don't have very high expectations for my performance, yet. I will do some experimenting, and see what I want to do more of next year.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 2:57PM
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billinpa(6)

If I remember correctly. Regular old green beans dried are dry navy beans in the store.

I have never had a problem with germ rates direct sowing peas or beans. I preferr bush beans over pole beans.

Beans are blue lake bush
peas are little marvel

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 11:34AM
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matriarchy(6 in PA)

Thanks, billinpa. That one bean I put in a pot has rapidly spouted, so I am more encouraged. My peas seem to be doing well.

I am thinking of trying to sprout some organic dried beans from my cupboard. I prefer bush beans over pole, too - and that is the drawback of using food beans - they don't come with plant descriptions!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:34PM
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