Wild Perennial Bean Seeds-the thicket bean
Wild bean seeds are hard to find. This is partly to blame for the exploding nature of the seed pods during harvest as well as lack of interest in the gardening community. We grew our population of thicket beans over the course of a decade. Each year we learned a little bit more about this unique bean, its growing habits, harvesting and even taste testing. In 2017 we harvested 2 ounces of dry seeds. In 2018 we harvested 1 lb. 10 ounces. It turns out that once established the thicket bean produces copious amounts of beans. We also discovered that thicket bean will fruit in one year from seed but the yields are lower. This will speed up our so called 'breeding' work of the plant itself without hybridization. In 2020 we harvested over 4 lbs of beans. This is a record!
Here is how to germinate the seeds: They have a hard seed coat. To increase the germination, soften the seed coat by using a fine grit sandpaper and gently rub it on the seed. This will scar the seed and remove some of the shine. This will then make them imbibe water easily and then sprout. You can then plant directly outside under 1/2 inch of soil. The seeds throw a taproot first and then the top will come up slowly over the course of a month. Or you can soak your seed or put in a damp paper towel until sprouting begins and then plant. Roots can go to 18 inches deep in one year and form a carrot type root.
Diseases of thicket bean include leaf rust which will defoliate and weaken the plant. Keep in check with biological insecticide Serenade which prevents its spread.
|Genus & Species||Phaseolus polystachios|
|Height (ft)||15-30 ft.|
|Width (ft)||4-6 ft.|
|Pollination Requirements||Carpenter bees, hummingbirds, other solitary bees, cabbage butterfly, honeybees|
|Soil||Found as a river plain species but appears to grow in rock and sand with ease.|
|Climate||Zone 5-10. Adaptable and maybe even desert proof once established. Not good in high moisture locations in the summer.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Easy to grow and fruit. Avoid shade and other wet conditions as it is susceptible to foliage diseases which cause premature leaf drop. Not good overwintered in containers. Has to be in the ground in winter. Three year roots yields greatly increase. Nitrogen fixing nodules are produced at this time as well.|