Soaking bean and pea seeds to improve germination

At the start of my fall garden, I planted bean and pea seeds. Thought I would have good germination, since I remember planting them the year prior with good success, but only four beans and one pea cane up! Boo.

Since the growing season is so long here (87 days until the first frost date, Nov 29th), and the days to maturity of these plants is 60-75 days, I still have time to try again.

This time, however, I decided to soak the seeds first. I’ve heard of people doing this – in fact the garden group in Seattle soaked bean seeds prior to direct sowing in the ground – but I didn’t think it was necessary, and as we’ve already established, I won’t do extra work unless I feel it’s necessary. (I’m a lazy gardener.) But with the lackluster performance of the first round of seeds, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I repeated the same varieties – 2 types of peas and one Blue Lake pole bean. I left these seeds to soak overnight, and put them in the ground on the morning of August 27th.

Unfortunately, this round seems to have done even worse than the last round. When I checked yesterday, none of the new seeds had come up. How disappointing.

The only thing I can figure is that the squash plants next to the peas and beans have grown a lot since the first round was planted and might be blocking most of the sunlight this beans and peas would otherwise get.

The beans and peas are growing where those spiraled poles are behind the squash

Although I won’t get many beans or peas this year, it’s a good learning experience. Next year, I’m planning to reorganize the garden space so the squash plants don’t hog all the good soil and sunlight.

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