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Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Posted by susaneden 5NY (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 17, 08 at 19:35

Hi! I am new to this forum, so hello all!

I bought some Ramdor/Emerite bean seed from Renee's Garden, and started them indoors at the same time as my mushroom pole beans. The mushroom beans are thriving, but the Emerites did not germinate. I had given a few seeds to a friend to srart indoors too, and out of the 6 seeds I gave her, 2 failed to germinate, 2 lost the seed portion and came up as naked stalks, and 2 came up normally.

Any idea why they would fail like this? I did read today that these beans prefer a cool germination temperature, so perhaps my indoor temps were not good for them, or perhaps my seed starting soil mix was too wet for them?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

That beans prefer a cool germination temperature is contrary to anything I have learned about beans. I'm curious about the source of that information because it seems odd to me.

Wet soil is said to be a problem and that does correspond to my experience on one or two occasions.

I'm wondering why you are starting beans inside, especially so early as April for a NY garden. But then, people are now starting veggies indoors that always used to be direct seeded only, things like carrots, beets and corn. It puzzles me.

Please don't take this as criticism of your methods. I'm learning new things about gardening every day, even after all these years.

Jim


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

"...I did read today that these beans prefer a cool germination temperature, so perhaps my indoor temps were not good for them, or perhaps my seed starting soil mix was too wet for them?"

Perhaps both... and perhaps planted too deeply as well, which could cause the naked stalks. Old seed, or improper storage conditions, could also be factors.

Emerite is cool soil tolerant... but don't confuse "tolerance" with "preference". Phaseolus vulgaris beans (including Emerite) prefer warm soil for germination. Under cooler temps, they tend to rot, especially if the soil is excessively moist. As a rule of thumb, the beans with dark seed coats (such as Emerite) are generally slightly less prone to rotting than white-seeded varieties.

There is an additional factor - the soil mix used to start the seeds. A non-sterile mix (such as potting soil) could carry diseases, quite a few of which could attack beans. And even if a sterile soil-less mix is used, beans can experience germination problems. They don't seem to like peat, probably because of the low nitrate content.

There is a trick that will improve bean germination, a technique used to revive old seed - and who knows, old seed may be part of the problem as well. Make a nitrate solution of one teaspoon of liquid fertilizer per gallon of water; the water should be distilled, or previously boiled to kill any fungi or spores. After planting the seed (preferably in peat pots or strips), soak the pots in the solution overnight. Drain off any excess the next day, and if further watering is required due to drying, use plain water. The difference can be pronounced; near-dead seed which for me had 0% germination without the treatment, had over 80% after the nitrate soaking.

I'm with Jimster; while I often use transplants for pole beans (to ensure time for dry seed) this seems to be much too early to be starting them. Beans develop a large root system quickly, so they can rapidly outgrow their pots, and become stunted.

I remember reading that beans, if started indoors, should be transplanted when they have their first true leaf... and that has proven to be effective. This stage is generally reached about 3 weeks after planting. Counting backward from the recommended date for planting beans outdoors in your area (see your state's Extension recommendations) will provide a ballpark estimate for the best starting date indoors.


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

I have had dark-seeded beans fail to germinate in hot dry-ish soil outdoors (fall planting) where white-seeded beans succeeded. Using more water sometimes helped. I read somewhere that the reason white-seeded beans often rot in cool soil is that they tend to absorb water more easily than dark-seeded beans.

Zeedman,

Your nitrate soak is an interesting trick. What kind of soil mix do you use? Are we talking complete immersion in the solution, or allowing the solution to wick up into the planting mix by placing the bottoms of the pots in the solution? Do you shorten the soaking time for white-seeded beans?

This year I started some pole beans indoors two or three weeks after I planted Contender bush beans outdoors. For the pole beans, I used Miracle Grow Moisture Control potting soil with inoculant and Root Shield microorganism mix, but covered the seeds with sterile peat-based seed-starting mixture, in Root Trainers. The pole beans are growing much better than the Contender beans. I planted them out soon after they had their first true leaves.


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Carolync1, I use a sterile soil less mix such as plug mix, or seed starter (Sungrow or Fafard). These come in bulk bags, making it more economical for starting large numbers of seedlings. Jiffy strip 32's seem to be the best size pots for starting beans.

With the nitrate soak, I place the pots/strips in a non-porous planting tray (check for leaks!) and allow the solution to wick upwards from the bottom. It usually takes about 8-9 cups (give or take) to saturate a tray full of peat strips; if there are still dry cells after an hour or so, add a cup or two. The poured-off solution can be used for the next batch, but to maintain sterility, I would not recommend saving it for more than a few days.

There should be no variation of the method, based upon seed coat color. If I recall correctly, the pigments in dark colored seed (I believe they are anthocyanins) protect against some of the pathogens which cause seed death... hence, the better cool-soil germination.

I have only used the nitrate soak as a last resort, when a first attempt yielded poor germination, or when the seed was irreplaceable or sent to me for rescue.


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Hi all--thanks for all the feedback!

I know it sounds strange to do so, but I start my pole beans inside to assure I get seeds from them later--have done it loads of times, just a few plants of the heavier producers. I start them in peat pots and then transfer to BIG (hold about 20 lbs of soil) pots with a twisty pole in the middle to support the beans. Then, they go outside after Memorial Day. This helps me extend a short growing season--and get beans on a few vines a little earlier in the season.

As far as the age of the seed, they are packaged for this year (just got them 2 weeks ago) from Renee's garden.

I also used sterile potting mix, too. Started them right next to my Gransma Nellie's Mushroom Beans, which are already ready to be transferred to the big pots.


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Hate to be tedious, but I'm pretty sure I don't start nearly as many seeds indoors as you do. Bulk bags of seed-starting mix could be wasted on me, so I am not familiar with these brands.

The seed-starting mixes I have seen (Jiffy Mix, Miracle Grow, etc.) are either almost pure Spagnum peat (ground) or Spagnum and perlite, in what looks like about a half and half mix. I would imagine that the mixes high in Spagnum would either stay too wet for beans or dry out completely if you move the pots outside. Are the mixes you use lighter (containing sand, etc.?). The only reason I can think of for the mostly-Spagnum mixes is starting tiny seeds.

I have some (dark-colored) Romano 14 seeds which I never did get to sprout, even the year I got them from a supplier for commercial growers. Maybe I'll have to give the nitrate method a try. At first, I imagined you immersing the pots, and wondered if something might float away.

Incidentally, I have good luck using a Thompson & Morgan trick for soaking seeds (not beans) where the seed coats contain germination inhibitors and/or are very hard. They recommended adding a little hydrogen peroxide to soaking water for alstromeria seed. This has speeded up germination of several other hard-seeded species for me. I guess this is for plants which are adapted to sprout only after there has been a period of reliable moisture in the soil. I have some crotolaria (a legume) seedlings which germinated long before they were supposed to after this treatment. The soaking water turned very dark as something leached out of the seed coats.


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Susan, you opened an interesting can of worms. I'm not sure if we've helped you at all, but zeedman's nitrate method and Carolyn's hydrogen peroxide idea may be useful to me in the future. Also, I will now keep an open mind to starting beans indoors.

Jim


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

What an interesting thread this has turned into.

Now here's something to add to the not-making-sense of all of this--the six 3-1/2-week old Emerite seeds I wrote off as rotted/dead/nonviable last week and put on my porch actually SPROUTED! Guess they are cool-soil-germination tolerant--lol. Not to mention VERY dry peat seed starting mix/pots tolerant too--ROFL!!!!

Who would have thought these pesky seeds I wrote off as dead would start outside in Western New York in April.....in dried out peat pots!?!

How funny is that? They survived everything you are NOT supposed to do to germinate after all :D

Your posts have all been very helpful, though--and thanks so very much!!!! In the future, I will use a more nitrogen-rich medium to mix with my seed starting mix, and maybe some sand, too, to make it less wet. Thanks for all of the suggestions!


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 22, 08 at 9:33

Hi Susan,
I'm WNY too! It has been so nice out, hasn't it? That's not why I'm posting though, lol. I'm glad you got your beans to sprout, but I just wanted to add something I found out this winter.
I got a few varieties of cooking beans down when I was visiting my dad in Florida. I wanted to test for viability. I did the damp paper towel in a baggie method. I left them on the dining room table, so room temp. They all sprouted and quickly too! In fact, I didn't throw them out immediately and they began growing up and out of the baggies, lol.
Remy


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Hi Remy--yes--it has been beautiful--a wee bit too dry for my peas and chard (can't believe I have to water anything in April.

I might just try your germination test on the remainder of the beans in a few weeks to see if they will sprout (or I might try the hydrogen peroxide trick mentioned above). So far, 2 beans out of 8 have sprouted, which is not in my book a great germination rate. The folks at Renee's Garden are sending me another packet of seed, which I will start outside when I get them, in the garden, and not attempt a seeding inside. If they don't come up this time, I will write that particular variety off, as so many other poles grow so quickly and well here :D

Remy--what town are you in? You must be farther from the lake than I am, as I see you are in a warmer zone :D


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 22, 08 at 17:16

Hi again Susan,
I've been out pruning roses, and I just noticed baby pea plants outside! I normally plant Tall Telephone, but I planted a blue podded variety(the name eludes me at the moment) for a change this year.
I live in Tonawanda about a mile from the river. The coldest temp I've ever seen at my house is -5 once, but most years it is about zero. From here on up along the river to Lake Ontario is zone 6 as you go east and/or south it is zone 5. Lol, probably more info than you wanted.
That's great that Renee's is send replacement seeds.
Remy


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Hey, Remy--I am in Eden (hence the name lol).

I am trying Alderman peas for the first time this year--they sound so wonderful! Of course I am a pea freak and have not yet found one that yields well in my little valley, so I am experimenting with SEVERAL varieties--Alderman, Thomas Laxtom, Sugar Ann, Super Sugar Snap, Little Marvel and Alaska.

I definitely overdid it, but last year I only got a handful. Probably the early hot, dry weather did it...hope this year is not a repeat. Anyway, that is WAY TOO much info lol!!!!!

Now, if by some miracle all these yield a lot, I will be freezing and giving away a lot of peas. Also saw a recipe for "dilly peas" for sugar snaps or snow peas, and also bread & butter pea pickles (for snaps and snow peas) that I can use if I am innundated :D


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 23, 08 at 20:30

Hi again,
Susaneden, I should of paid more attention to the second half of your name, lol. Eden is a nice area. I of course like going to the corn fest.
You did plant a lot of peas! Good thing you do can if you get a bumper crop, lol, and I can find out from you later what grew well. : )
The Tall Telephone/Alderman peas do well for me. The vines grow pretty big, and the peas are tasty. Of course eating peas, any variety, straight out of the garden, is there any thing better in the spring?
Remy


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

Yum! I can't wait! The aldermans and super sugan snaps are already growing their first baby tendrils :D

The horticulturist called me today from Renee's Garden (how is THAT for cust service!) and she said she had never heard of anything like that happening before, to anyone. She also suggested I save the seed from the beans that sprouted despite being given up for dead, in dry peat based starting mix and with 40-degree nights! I thought that was a great idea :D

As a side note--besides being a great miniseries for dramatic and historic reasons--any other garden maniacs out there watch the "John Adams" series on HBO and enjoy the historic garden scenes with the rough poles and the beans/peas climbing up them? I thought the attention to detail was aresome :D


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RE: Emerite/Ramdor bean seed failure

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 2, 08 at 23:45

Hi Susan,
I just wanted to update you. I started all my beans with the baggie method. It has been a great success! Some varieties I got all of them to germinate. The ones I believed were questionable, I still got some seed started. They all transplanted well too. I waited until the roots were an inch or so long. I'm going to do it this way from now on.
Remy


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