Bean seeds sown directly into the garden can fail to germinate, particularly when the soil is cool and moist. They need moisture and warmth. If the soil is too cold, the seeds may rot in the ground before they sprout. Soaking bean seeds before planting will soften the outer shell of the seed and speed up the germination process. Dry bean seeds may take as long as two weeks to germinate. Soaked seeds will usually show signs of germination within three to four days.
Things You'll Need
- 1-quart Mason jar
- Plastic screen or cheesecloth
- Jar ring
- Bean seeds
- Shallow pan
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Cut a piece of plastic screen or cheesecloth to fit over the mouth of a 1-quart Mason jar. If you are using plastic screen, it can be the size of the opening. If you are using cheesecloth, cut a piece large enough for a 1 1/2-inch overhang.
Put bean seeds into the jar and add two times as much tap water to the jar. There should be enough water in the jar for the seeds to absorb and begin to swell.
Place the plastic screen or cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar. Screw on the jar ring to hold it in place. Place the jar in a dark location and allow the beans to soak for 12 hours or overnight.
Inoculate the bean seeds if your garden soil is poor and does not have much nitrogen. Place the seeds in a shallow pan and add just enough water to moisten them. Add a small amount of inoculant to the beans and stir with a stick until they have a little bit of powder on the seed coat. Be careful not to damage the seeds while stirring.
Plant the bean seeds immediately. They should be planted 1 inch deep and 2 to 4 inches apart. Seedlings should begin to emerge within a week.