Sowing and growing legumes

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Legumes_web Something interesting I have learned from someone the other day about legumes, that is to say beans and peas, in this instance, and the sowing and growing of same.

At the 2011 London Green Fair, which has evolved from the Camden Green Fair, I met Mark Ridsdill Smith of Vertical Veg and he gave me a few interesting pointers as to beans and peas.

Britain, while having many varieties of Runner Beans, Broad Beans and one or two other types, does not have many types of bean seeds for gardeners in the merchant catalogs. It appears as if they either have no knowledge of the others or do not wish to offer them as not to confuse the British growers.

In North America, and especially in the USA, there are literally hundreds of different types – we don't even want to speak of varieties – of beans to be had from seed merchants, both conventional and heirloom.

The answer that Mark gave me to this dilemma is to purchase bags of pulses, especially beans – special ones – from Health Food Shops. Those will have been, in the main, grown organically and thus make viable seeds.

Mark also confirmed something that a former colleague, Victor Evans, former gardener at Nonsuch Park, told me, namely to soak bean seeds and those of peas overnight or even 24 to 43 hours with several changes of water. This will have them start to sprout before you plant the seeds and you know that each and every seed you put in is a viable one.

I might even give this a try with beans, such as Butter Beans, bought from supermarkets, and also Pinto Beans. They are cheap enough to buy so that a few for a trial, if it goes wrong, are no loss.

On the other hand, when you buy beans and peas at a Health Food Shop they also do not cost all that much; in fact they are a great deal cheaper as packets of bean seeds. And, as this seems to be working, this is but a great win situation as one can get a pound of seeds for the price of a packet of seeds this way.

I can't wait to try this out...

© 2011