The Bean Turn

Having put winged beans (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) in the cold sowing bottles, I changed my mind and dug them out again. They are a warm weather bean and if they can’t grow when I follow the instructions, treating them the complete opposite would be a bigger mistake.

By the time I had decided to do this, they had already been out in the cold and rain for a few days but they did look a bit better than when they were put in. The beans have a very hard covering which should be scarified, then soaked in warm water for 24 hours. That’s what I decided to do, yet again. The shell was still hard although it was obvious the wet compost had started to soften it to some degree.

I nicked the shells and put the beans in a thermos flask of warm water. It is quite cold here so water doesn’t stay warm long and I felt the flask would keep the water at a better temperature. I have now re-potted the beans in paper maché pots and put them back in the five litre-bottle, but will be kept indoors meantime.

The water bottles make very good propagators whether indoors or out, so even if you don’t have a greenhouse to start seeds off in, any container which would let the light in and hold in the heat, would help.

That’s the last of the winged beans now, so this will be a ‘do or die’ attempt with them. If any survive, it will be interesting, if not then it will be time to move on to try something else.

4 thoughts on “The Bean Turn

  1. I like your reuse of containers. I have started using soft fruit and cherry tomato punnets with hinged lids as little seed pot propagators. I’m sure when I volunteered at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens we were growing winged beans outside. Although I wasn’t involved in propagating them so can’t help. I suspect you may find them a nuisance needing potting on in the warm for a while yet…..That reminds me though I was going to have another try with giant achocha, which I was determined to start off nice and early this year.


    1. I’ve grown Achocha Fat Babies for two or three years now and tried the ‘exploding’ Achocha once. There is quite a difference in temperature between Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens and here. Milk bottles are quite good as propagatorsand cutting the top off leaves a neat pot. I have a square bottomed gutter shelf in the greenhouse and the one pint milk bottles fit perfectly. My daughter is in Cheshire so if I can get the winged beans to sprout, I may let them go to warmer climes!

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