Friday, 23 April 2010

Which Way Is Up

This weekend is "Go For It Weekend". Any seed that is left that is "hardy" gets sown direct. Anything "half hardy" gets sown direct and covered with fleece or sown in pots and kept under cover at night. Any seed left that is "tender" gets sown in pots in the "greenhouse" and even brought indoors on cold nights, until mid/late May. This last catagory includes BEANS.

Now the big question: Which way up should you sow your beans?

The pictures below, from last year, illustrate the dilemma. The mirror smooth casing softens, a root is sent down and the two fleshy halves of the bean seed (cotyledons)split and rear up on the stem. Don't tell me that it makes no difference which way up the seeds are buried in the pot! But searching away there is no opinion to be had on this issue. Everyone seems to think there is no right way to sow a bean! Well I don't buy that. The guys at the bottom of the page know the answer, but they're not telling!

The principle orientating feature of a bean (I learned from the web today) is called the "hilum". This is usually described as the "scar" on the bean. Should it point up or down? (Or sideways?). Please tell me because I've got a hell of a lot of beans to sow this weekend!




11 comments:

  1. I think I remember from doing them at school that the shoot comes out the 'scar' bit..but to be honest my mum has always planted my runner beans and i really didn't give it any thought when i planted my broad beans...which are all dead now by the way...but due to fire not planting!!!

    Maybe you should put one on some blotting paper...just to see...in fact I am going to do this tomorrow because now you have got me thinking...and is if I didn't have enough on my plate already...GGGRRRR

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  2. Well I posted a really long comment here yesterday but it just didn't seem to like it so i will try again, it went something like this....

    I'm not sure it really matters...My Mum always plants my beans and they are always very good plants so i will consult with her later but \i think from when I was a kid at school and experimenting with growing the sprout came out of the 'scar' bit....now I have to know so I think I will experiment with a lone bean on some blotting paper....and as if I didn't have enough to be getting on with without you getting me thinking about things like this...GGRRRRR

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  3. Do some test plantings in a jam jar, quite near the glass, but shield the glass with black paper. Every so often take a peek to see if the shoot is coming out and from which end. You could have 3 different jars on the go, labelled - scar up, scar down, scar sideways. I suggest this because I'm not sure about the blotting paper idea but perhaps that will work and it's less effort.

    And yes, Katie Morag is a favourite here too!

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  4. I'll be sowing scar up today. See what happens.

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  5. PS - thanks for the link to your sunset shot. 'Awesome'! I didn't see the sunset - can't even remember what I was doing on Tuesday evening!

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  6. I'm going to be planting more seeds this weekend too. As for the beans, I just do as I do for all my seeds, shove them in and hope for the best.

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  7. I don't think it matters, I always think they need to be planted with the scar facing upwards (although I don't know where I got that idea) but reality is that when pushed into the soil they always tilt and end up any old how...I'm far to clumsy for seed positioning.

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  8. I'm with Nina on this the roots and shoots will find their own way - I think both come from the scar end anyway. It doesn't matter which way up - I'd plant on edge with the scar at one side because this way they may be less likely to rot as the water should drain off the sides and not sit on the bean.

    When I was teaching we greww beans in jam jars and one thing the children watched our for was the fact that roots go down and shoots grow up!

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  9. I had this connundrum planting broad beans in November. I planted alternate rows in different directions to see what happened. Most germinated and you wouldn't be able to tell from the plants which was which. Nature always finds a way :o)

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  10. I tend to push them in lengthways, so the shoots grow out the side. Don't think it matters too much, though I did have one shoot which pushed its way out of the side of a paper pot!

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  11. So that's why my beans rotted! And I thought it was the snowstorm!

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