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inoculating bean seeds

 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
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I want to plant a cover crop of beans and my soil is pretty poor and dead. Should I use a commercial inoculant when I plant the bean seeds?
 
steward
Posts: 32876
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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The beans will probably do better if you do. 

The stuff that is in the innoculant is probably already in your soil (assuming your soil is at least mediocre), but in small quantities.  Putting the innoculant on your beans will assure that there is plenty. 

 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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one question about the innoculants, i have bought them before for beans and peas, and i was wondering if it would work around other nitrogen fixing plants too, like the autumn olive, goumi, lupines, etc..?

Hubby right now is looking through our American Wildlife book as when we were on a walk i was pointing out to him false lupines in the pea family and the vetches and clovers..so now he is obsessing on them (he has ocpd along with his head injury, so he'll go on about them now for hours, a good way to get him to stop pulling thing out of the gardens that he shouldn't is to show him what they are good for)
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Plug the genus of legume & (if available) the species of rhizobia listed on the package of your innoculant into a search engine. Chances are very good that someone has studied that combination to see if they work together.

I was interested in drought-tolerant legumes, and found that fenugreek tends to use the same bacteria that medic species (already abundant in my soil) use, and mung beans are not picky about which sort of bacteria live in their nodules. On the other hand, garbanzo beans have two species that they, and only they, can partner with, so growing them would mean buying innoculant, in my case.

There are lots of complicated details like that.  It sounds like your husband would have as good a time as I did, going through the combinations one-by-one to guess whether existing legumes are maintaining populations of bacteria that would be appropriate for plants you would like to introduce.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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good idea to do a search on them. It is amazing how many nitrogen fixing plants grow naturally in our area when we really start looking around.
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
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According to Edible Forest Gardens by David Jacke, the eleagnus species interact with Frankia. These are something of a mix between bacteria and fungi (actinomycetes). There aren't any commercial preparations with Frankia. Lupines are leguminous, but they are in their own inoculation group so they wouldn't use the same bacteria as peas and beans. You might be able to find a "garden" preparation that would include a bunch of strains that might include the ones for lupines.
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