London (change)
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16/04/2012 at 23:13

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a pack of these beans at a seed swap. They were then planted and put on my radiator in the hope that they would germinate but as yet no luck. They have been in the pots about two weeks now. Is there a trick to them or are they very slow to germinate. The beans were really hard and white. Do they need a soak before planting or just time.

17/04/2012 at 00:00
They can two weeks or more to germinate subject to conditions, so be patient. Be careful with watering as this can cause them to rot. You got them at a swap shop was there a use by date on the packet? Older seeds can take longer to germinate and the% success rate can be relatively lower than that of fresh seeds. If they are not through in another week try teasing a seed out to see if they have rotted off.
17/04/2012 at 00:05
They came in an envelope so no idea how old they are but I'll have a root around to see if they might have rotted tomorrow.
17/04/2012 at 10:08

I have grown Blue Lake many times - and am going to have them again this year.  What I have found, however, is that the seed really doesn't keep well, whether it is saved from last year's plants or leftover seed in the packet.  I don't know why - but, a bit like parsnip seed, it is best to have fresh seed each year.

If you got these at a plant seed swap, they were probably old/surplus seed.  I think I would buy some fresh and start again.  They ought to germinate within a few days, so I think yours are duds, I regret to say.

For the record, I found that they are lovely and prolific French beans which have good taste and freeze well.

20/04/2012 at 14:46
They seemed to have all rotted so I have planted a new bunch.
20/04/2012 at 14:55

Hold back for a while -I had the same problem last year-I started some in pots- some germinated -those that didn't rotted- resowed rotted again-then resorted to sowing direct into the soil at the beginning of June-no problems and beans a few weeks later

My advice for what it is worth is to sow 2/3 per support outside around then-there is plenty of time- trust me-it is too early to start them off just now indoors anyway they like warmer temperature to flourish properly outside and that is weeks away

22/04/2012 at 15:10

Is it? The note from the donor said plant April. The second lot has now germinated so it is hopefully all go now. Might plant some direct in the ground too.

22/04/2012 at 15:11

They will not like the low temperatures.

22/04/2012 at 15:23
You mean outdoors? Didn't mean to plant them now but later in the year.
22/04/2012 at 15:27

If you sow now they will be up and growing in a couple of weeks -just saying it is a bit early-up to you- but I will not be sowing until mid- May for planting out beginning of June-5/6 weeks away.

22/04/2012 at 15:52

I planted out a dozen dwarf borlotti beans in the garden this afternoon. They've been in the cold frame with the lid open during the day for a couple of weeks now, so I thought I'd liberate them. They are under a cloche though.

27/05/2012 at 20:02

A quick update on my climbing French beans:  very poor germination - 3 out of 24.  I've planted some more, and if they don't germinate either, I'll try planting directly into the soil.  But I'm wondering whether or not I had a poor batch of seeds in the first place, so have bought some more:  Cobra, which I have had in the past without problems.

31/05/2012 at 15:51

Sowed some direct into the soil last weekend-today Thursday-some are appearing -in 4 days!!

31/05/2012 at 17:06

Huh!  Those seeds heard me typing about buying Cobra - 'cos I now have about 20 that have germinated!  Result!

31/05/2012 at 17:10


It is all about the timing-I feel very smug

31/05/2012 at 17:19
slightly off topic but bean related - my so called dwarf French beans which have been outside for about 6 weeks look spookily like they're climbers. Tempted to nip out top and try and bonsai them. Does anyone have any thoughts?
31/05/2012 at 17:23

Can't you quickly build a wigwam/A-frame over them figrat?  I think that's what I'd be tempted to do.  If they are climbing beans - you'll get the crop,  If you have tried to thwart them in their desire to grow upwards, I'm not sure you'd get much of a harvest.  And if they were truly dwarf all along, all you'd have to do is to remove whatever structure you've erected. 

31/05/2012 at 18:11

I could do, but as I mix my veg and ornamentals in the borders, might be a bit awkward as they're at the front! Am thinking I might try those metal spirals - I grew some runners up them last year.

31/05/2012 at 19:07

Oh, yes!  Those spiral look so good - real architectural additions to a border.  If you do it - will you post a picture?

31/05/2012 at 19:13


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