Inoculant for peas and beans

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by bazman, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Hi guys

    I have been thinking that a lot of the legumes cover crops I buy are supplied with an inoculant, but I have never seen peas or beans sold with one.

    I was wondering what everyone's thoughts are with regards to this as peas and beans have always 'bean' a bit hit and miss here, apart from my Madagascar beans.

    Should I just buy a commercial inoculant every couple of years and apply that to my garden soils?

    Baz
     
  2. Raymondo

    Raymondo Junior Member

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    Legumes, as far as I know, don't need the bacteria. If there is adequate N in the soil they will take that and not worry about providing a home for the bacteria, or so I've read. I guess though that if they do poorly for you and there is no evidence of nodulation then perhaps an application of inoculant would help. Of course, it may simply be that your climate is ill-suited to peas and beans. Limas (like the Madagascar bean) cowpeas (for eating like garden peas) and snake beans may like the climate in SEQ better.
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I have found that beans grow without innoculants but have always had trouble with getting any peas to grow other than snap peas and am also wondering if they need that little extra help too.
     
  4. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I'll add some questions!
    I've wondered about this whenever my legumes seem a bit pathetic. I'm assuming it's a one-off introduction of bacteria? I imagine adding soil from around someone's awesome beans'd do it...
    But hang on, I move my plants round a bit, so would I need to inoculate with the right bacteria whenever they move?
    How specific are the bacteria? I can't imagine one that works for gorse will necessarily work on the borlottis, or whatever.
    Anyone got a good link?
     
  5. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Next time I drop off product to Green Harvest I will ask Frances Michaels the question about pea and beans.

    I do know that not all inoculants are the same as I have seen different codes on some the the green manure products I have brought from Green harvest.

    I have also used Nutri-Life Platform in my food forest too, it's hard to gage the response of the product without a soil science degree.

    My understanding is legumes with the right Mycorrhizal Fungi with not do as well if you add nitrogen fertilisers as it limits the Fungi. When my current batch of sugar snaps finish producing I will be checking for nitrogen nodules.
     
  6. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

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    We bought commercial inoculant for our beans/peas and clover/alfalfa. I've heard the opposite of what Raymondo has. In order for any plant to fix atmospheric nitrogen, the right bacteria must be present in the soil.

    As far as nitrogen limiting mycorrhizae formation, I have not heard that. Our inoculant warned against excessive phosphorus which will limit growth.

    I am curious about this as well:

    My understanding is that after a few growing seasons the bacteria should be present in the soil. Just how long they survive without the presence of their symbiotic partners I do not know. How far they can "travel" in your garden is also a mystery to me.
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Do report back, I'm interested to hear what Frances has to say.
     
  8. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    Yes please bazman, any info beyond "see them nodules, they fixes nitrogen they does" is a valuable thing and any random tips will be greatfully received, especially considering my plans to grow unfeasable quantities of drying beans this season!
     
  9. palerider

    palerider Junior Member

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    I must say i've grown peas and beans in a lot of different areas, and never a problem.
    Are you sure it's not something as simple as old seed, bad weather, wrong climate?. I'm pretty sure legumes in general look after themselves in regards to this stuff.
     
  10. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    My legumes are generally pretty productive, but I'm interested to know how I can get them more so!
    For me, it's partly just curiosity and partly a desire to getloads of bean and peas.
    I assume specific mycorrhizae are native/endemic to wherever the particular plant comes from originally?
    My broad beans don't need any assistance, ever; which does bring up questions as to climate/cultural requirements vs inoculants...
     
  11. Raymondo

    Raymondo Junior Member

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    Yes, that's true, but if there is already ample N available in the soil the plant won't bother hosting the bacteria that do the fixing. It doesn't need to and a plant won't 'spend' its resources unnecessarily.

    N fixing is via bacteria (rhizobia, frankia, cyanobacters and so on). I'm not sure what the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and N is. These fungi are good scavengers of some minerals but I haven't heard of them fixing N.
     
  12. Raymondo

    Raymondo Junior Member

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    Yes, that's true, but if there is already ample N available in the soil the plant won't bother hosting the bacteria that do the fixing. It doesn't need to and a plant won't 'spend' its resources unnecessarily.

    N fixing is via bacteria (rhizobia, frankia, cyanobacters and so on). I'm not sure what the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and N is. These fungi are good scavengers of some minerals but I haven't heard of them fixing N.
     

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