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do you thin seeds planted two per hole

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  • do you thin seeds planted two per hole

    I read somewhere, that this person planted two beans per hole.

    so if one does that, do you thin them later, or let the seedling duke it out.

    In other words let the week seedling die on its own.

    Personally, I have not practiced thinning much in the past, since I hate murdering a plant. But I found that if I don't over plant, that seeds placed in holes later, may never mature before summer heat (which would kill the plant here), or autumn frost, or weather too cool for plant to enjoy.

    What thinning method do you guys use.

    I can think of 4 ways.

    scatter seed then thin

    plant twice as close as you want the plants to be and pull every other one.

    multiple seeds per hole, then thin

    plant 3 seeds in little triangles at regular spacing and pull 2 out of each triangle, remaining plants will be properly spaced

    thanks in advance for your input

  • #2
    I plant beans two ways.....for bush beans, I normally plant in rows. That said, I will space plants out 3 or 4 inches for the length of the row and I normally plant a few rows. For pole beans I plant around a trellis. Normally I plant one seed every inch surrounding the leg of the trellis. I don't thin them out as they grow.


    • #3
      I used to just plant beans at intervals, and let them come up as they may. But if I had a poor stand initially (as I often did) I had to re-plant, and had the same problem with staggered/delayed maturity. To avoid this, I started over planting.

      Sometimes, my bean planting philosophy is dictated by the amount of seed I have, and what I hope to get out of it.

      If seed is in short supply (such as a small exchange sample) I want every seed to count. So for bush beans, I use the same row spacing as Earthworm, and hope they all make it. In such a case, I'll watch for the first signs of germination, and break the soil crust around them to ease their emergence. For pole beans in short supply, or if I anticipate poor germination (as with old seed) I start them in peat pots, and transplant them to ensure a good stand. If I have less than 10 seeds of anything (limas, beans pole or bush, runner beans, cowpeas, soybeans), they get the pot treatment... and extra wide spacing.

      When seed is plentiful, I plant in "hills" (clusters, not raised mounds) of 4-5 seeds, each spaced about 1" apart in a circle. Since my soil tends to crust over after rains, the larger number ensures that the seedlings will break through the crust unassisted. I won't thin until the first true leaf is grown, after birds, bugs, and Mother Nature have all had their shot at them... something always kills a few. How much I then thin is dependent upon variety, and hill spacing.

      My default hill spacings for pole beans are:
      - For common pole beans & runner beans, hills 12" apart along a row trellis. I thin to the two strongest for varieties with minimal branching (such as "Fortex", "Goldmarie", or "Soissons Vert"). For runner beans & the most rampant, heavily-branched common beans (such as "Garafal Oro" or "Ma Williams"), I thin to the strongest plant.
      - For yardlongs, hills 15" apart, thinned to one. Since I usually start yardlongs as transplants here due to my short summers, there is no need to thin.
      - For limas, 18" for small-seeded varieties, 24" for large-seeded, thinned to single plants. Since I need to start most limas as transplants to get them to mature reliably in Wisconsin, I seldom have to thin.

      Just as a side note... due to their enormous productivity, most pole beans (of any species) are very cost-effective as transplants.

      The first time I grow any bean, I observe its growth in relation to the default spacing. Any recommendations for adjustment are recorded, for the next time it is grown.

      Having read the spacings used by many others, I realize that mine may seem a bit wide... but most pole beans really capitalize on extra space. They will branch far more than normal, and enormous yields per plant are possible. When I first grew "Brita's Foot Long", only one of the planted seeds germinated, and it had a 6' X 6' trellis all to itself. That single plant gave me nearly a pound of seed! And a 4-foot gap in a row of of the lima "1880's Butterbean" last year (where a plant had died) was filled in so completely by the adjoining plants that the gap was no longer visible at season's end! Even tall climbing peas will respond to extra space; I planted "Nadja" @ 6" spacing last year, and it responded by sending out numerous additional runners from the base, filling the trellis as completely as @ 3" spacing!

      For me, the optimal spacing is the widest that will still densely cover the trellis. This minimizes the amount of seed necessary... and also minimizes the chances of disease, since it leads to healthier plants, and improves air flow. These spacings work well for me, in my conditions, where periods of cool weather or excess moisture are fairly common. Where warmer, drier conditions are prevalent, or for poorer soils, closer optimal spacings may be possible. For areas where bean diseases are a problem, even greater spacings may be necessary.

      Wow... I got really long-winded. Must be the beans.


      • #4
        wow, Thanks for all those great details. I enjoyed reading the post.

        Last year due to an exceptionally wet year, I lost a lot of cowpeas and had poor sprouting. Where there were empty spaces between plants, the remaining plant got taller, and the stems were nice and thick. The pods were longer too. The plants with plenty of room, got to at least 18" wide. the plants fell over at 12" spacing.

        For the bush cowpeas, I knew better, but followed some spacing advice I read someplace. To plant 6" apart. I have even seen 3" spacing suggested. I would never plant them that close. The plants fell over. I ended up chopping down every other plant at a very mature stage (already making beans). I think it may have helped some, but it was a bit too late to have a huge affect.

        This year, cowpeas are getting 2 feet of space. The hopi limes, that you (WI_HO_C) sent to me, are also getting 2 feet each, one to each leg of a bamboo teepee. My common beans, I may plant 1 or two to a pole and watch how they do.

        With the cowpeas, I have poles already spaced 1 foot apart from last year. After thinning they will be 1 to a pole but still be about 18-24 inched apart. I will plant 6 inches away from the pole. The first pole will have the plant on the left side of the trellis, the second pole will have the plant on the right side, and so on. Hopefully this will work out.

        Not sure about the common beans. I was thinking for this new trellis, to space the poles 18" inches apart have 1 plant on each side of every pole, but then the beans would be only 8" (spaced 4" from the pole) apart at that pole, but 18" apart in the row. I could space the poles 12" apart and have them 1 plant per pole planting on alternating sides of the trellis like the cowpeas. I guess it is trial and error mostly.

        Stuff needs plenty of space here, since the roots tend to grow out instead of down due to our soil structure. I can't dig much past 8 inches to bury a bean pole. I now to add water to the hole and dig down to 12 inches, if I can, so the pole is more stable. I just purchased a soil auger (for my drill) to dig my bean pole holes. But it can't dig much deeper than I can. Soil is very very hard past 8". It probably takes about the same amount of time to dig the holes, but it is fun.

        I did try a few cowpeas two per hole this April, and thinned soon after they came up. Not sure this is the best approach. Seems the roots would be crowded.

        For my Bambara beans, I planted 2 to 3 per hole as suggested on a few sites that I found. They said nothing abut thinning. So I did not thin. I planted some 1 per hole to compare. One ascension that I have has black and white beans and the other that is all black. The plants from the white seeds seem to hate the heat (and it is not that hot yet), the plants in the heat of the day yesterday where dried up looking. The black seeds are nice and green. I did not think to notice if the number of seeds per hole made a difference. I will go out today and take notice of that. Let me know how your Bambaras do. Literature I read said they do not perform at 14-16 hour days. They will have no or late flowering, or reduced or no bean yield. But Bambaras from one part of Africa will not grow in other parts of Africa, due to daylight hours. So this info might not be true for all ascensions


        • #5
          You know, I've found that making several plantings, a week or two apart is the key to successful crops. Just because you plant your seeds at what you think may be the optimal time, doesn't insure success. You could be a degree or two off in the soil and germination may be significantly different. I had a second planting of beans, about 12 days after the first actually germinate quicker than the first stand right next to it. Food for thought.


          • #6
            I think the instructions to plant lots of seeds and then thin later are for new gardeners. Except for just plain bad luck, once you get good at knowing exactly how much moisture to provide to your seeds until they germinate, I think planting a lot of extra seeds is a waste. Specifically beans I get 95-100% germination provided we don't have any heavy rains and I water properly.