Has anyone had success with grocery store legumes?
Some beans I want to grow don't seem to be available in seed packets, but can be found in big packets in ethnic groceries.
I bought Canary Beans (Mayocoba/Canario Frijol Peruano) from Latin Merchant in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Green Flageolets from Elegant Beans in California, and Ten Bean Mix in Whole Foods' bulk section.
I decided to see which ones will need poles to grow on next year by sprouting samples to grow now in my greenhouse. Well! It looks like they are good only for eating.
The green flageolets did not germinate as they are picked and dried before they mature and change colour to their mature white.
Of the dozen distinct ones from Whole Foods, only two have germinated - a pale brown with red speckles and a black-eyed pea.
One Canary Bean of the three I tried has sprouted too.
So, what happens with cooking beans? Are they dried to death? Ancient?
I had been going to buy various chickpeas from an Indian grocery, but maybe they won't grow either.
MOST of what I grow comes from ethnic markets of one sort or another. I have never had much of a problem with them germinating.
I think your samples may just be old. The sulfites they put on some beans to kill insects may also do something.
For the record (since you said chick peas, the desi type (little brown ones the bag will be marker "Kala channa") are a bit better germinating than the conventional tan ones. Of course you have to weigh this against the fact they are a lot tougher beans at the other end and not good for most uses we would put chick peas to (they're supposed to be ground into besan, or chickpea flour)
Another problem you may run into is that, coming from more tropical countries, a lot of the beans will be the wrong day length to work here (This is particularly a problem with cow peas like the black eyed pea and the odder Asian legumes [don't even bother trying white lablab beans])
I've never had trouble with grocery store beans. But I was using Black Turtle beans, Pinto beans. Great northern beans. Things like that which weren't imported. The only other grocery store seeds I've besides beans are seeds from squash, tomato and peppers. All good except green peppers, which I think weren't ripe enough.. And citrus seeds. I've planted those when they were already germinated in the fruit.
I buy my beans at a Pakistani grocery and I always soak them before cooking. Often I end up leaving them on the counter for an extra day if plans change--they always sprout. Indeed, many South Asian dishes require the beans be sprouted before cooking, so I'd recommend you try a South Asian grocer.
The comments regarding day length may be more significant for you, though.
Growing in a coastal zone 7a in the Northern Hemisphere. Hot humid summers and cold snowy winters. Plenty of rain. Sandy loam topsoil over clay subsoil, whatever the glacier left behind when it made Long Island.
I'd bet it is a combination of age and rough handling. Beans are actually pretty fragile. Damage to the cotyledons or embryo due to getting smacked around in augers etc is without a doubt going to lower the germ, and then who knows how long its been sitting in a bin somewhere. It might also have been force dried in a bin as well, which involves a stirring process which is probably pretty rough. They don't need them to germ so they don't need to be as gentle with them.
Post by blueadzuki on Nov 16, 2018 19:06:54 GMT -5
Sort of the same story with my "Owl's Eye" cow peas; they came out of the "Healthy Bean Mix" sold by H-mart (an Asian/Korean supermarket chain near me) The giant chick peas (if I still have any) came from the same bags. Unfortunately the mix has changed since then and no longer contains either of these.
I bought pounds of several varieties at my produce store from a specialty bean company which all did very poorly; then I learned they imported their beans from totally different climates; so disappointing; there was nothing on the packaging to indicate they weren't domestic. Domestic legumes all do well; it's rare that favas don't sprout 100%, for instance.
"Yesterday is history; tomorrow is mystery; today is a gift, that's why it's called the present." E. Roosevelt "If the world is to end tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today" Martin Luther
Since Mayocoba beans were the variety mentioned in the original post, I did grow them 2 years ago. Got very good results and the source was WalMart. Also great results with Yellow Eye, also from a pound bag.
I’ve had varying success which I put down to age of seed and rough handling (there are often lots of chipped and broken seeds). One of my favourite shelly beans comes from a seed mix I got in a Chinese grocery store which was called Eight Treasure Porridge.
Ray Silty loam over clay, pH 5.5, altitude 1000m, latitude 30deg south, 150 frost free days.