Sunday, 25 April 2010

It's Not Rocket Science...

...hopefully it's Bean Science.

Spent 1.5 hrs at the plot today sowing carrots and attempting to transplant chitted parsnip seed. Got thoroughly soaked so returned home for a hot bath. "For you my friend the plot war is over"

Following my last post, and the helpfull suggestions put up by contributors, I decided to try an experiment with my beans. Fortunately I recently acquired a bulk supply of those plastic labels, and I was already ready to sow my beans so it wasn't much trouble.

I've got 44 pots and and two beans go in each pot. I need 44 labels each marked with the variety and the oriention of the bean seed. All are planted to the same depth.
The four orientation are

U = Up
D = Down
SL = Sideways Lateral
SV = Sideways Vertical

Here they go in:

In their serried ranks

The army on parade.

Every group of four is experiencing exactly the same conditions, be that in the open, in the greenhouse , shed or house. This last option doesn't seem to be realistic so I hope the good weather forcasted can be trusted to continue. I'm going to record speed of emergence and time to reach 6 inches high. I can rearrange the pots to group all the Us and Ds together after they have all, hopefully germinated.

Will there be any difference???

Saturday 15th May Update

Here's the army reassembled for comparison purposes:

The four beanless pots are the Pea Beans which failed (clearly)

From the other end it looks a bit greener:


  1. Lol... its not rocket science blogging, tho it can be a bit too technical for the odd one or two Caledonian based gardeners ;)

  2. Mal, your results will affect the rest of my bean sowing life so I'm very much looking forward to seeing what happens. I went scar up yesterday on the french beans, all indoors. As a BSc I admire your scientific approach. If I had to bet on it, I would wager no difference between the groups.

  3. Zeb, I see your beans were already through a month ago. (How far south is Scunthorpe?) Did you need the electric heater?

    This could be another thick enders vs thin enders issue, Dynamo. It's deja vu all over again!

  4. I don't know...mine were sown long ways so I am interested to see if there really is any difference.

  5. I think it's highly commendable that you have taken it upon yourself to solve this great gardening mystery! It all looks very stategic! I look forward to the results.

  6. I'd put a fiver on lengthways to win. Your scientific method makes me proud to be Scottish.

  7. Wow! I'm far too lazy to go to such lengths. I'm looking forward to your very scientific conclusions...

  8. That is an impressive bean study. Hope you like beans - a lot. Sod's law they all come up and you'll be buried in drifts of beans.

  9. Can't wait to hear the results.

  10. Youve saved me a job anywho, i was going to do a few tests mytself, nothing as eleborate as this tho im intruiged to see what happens, my grandpops reckons that if you look at the bean seed one half is slightly larger than the other and its this side that should point down apparently.

  11. That should be interesting to see if it does affect the growing. i have to admit my method of sowing is put them on the top, poke it a bit then cover it over! Oh Yes! I do get that technical!

  12. Yesterday I planted some french beans. For me, that's enough of an experiment.

    It'll be interesting to see if there's any difference. I never thought about bean orientation at all.

  13. we always just tossed the beans into their spots and they grew from whatever orientation they landed, never considered that it might make a difference. but i am interested to see the results.
    if there is a noticeable difference, your method of trial should find it!

  14. Wow - hope it does show some kind of pattern, just to make all the hard work feel like its been worth it. Does make my "make hole, lob in seed, cover & water" seem a bit dull.

  15. cripes Mal, that's dedication!
    Fingers crossed for a good result all round as it would be a shame not to have a bumper crop from all that effort

  16. Thanks for all the positive comment - too much to reply to individually.

    "One to two weeks under ideal conditons" is the predicted germination time, so don't expect any updates for two weeks min! I've run up a record sheet for when thins start happenning and now regret putting two beans in each pot from an experimental point of view, although this is the usual advice and my usual practice. (Its also the usual advice to pinch out the weaker of the two beans when they come through, but I admit to being poor about doing this and end up separating them off when transplanting). But for those who are concerned about the number I am growing please note that 24 out of the 44 pots are beans suitable for drying (Berlotti, Pea Bean, and Dwarf Red Kidney Bean Canadian Wonder). Four of the varieties are seed I've saved myself in a bit of a haphazard fashion so they may not be as reliable as the commercially stored ones. I've not grown any more than I planned to grow for eating this year. And I think there's still one batch of last years runner beans kicking about somewhere in the freezer!

  17. 44 pots and 88 bean seeds is certainly a huge science experiment!

    What way up is one of the oldest questions that keeps coming up again and again and it will be good to finally know the answer. I will be reading with great interest to see your results.