Part 1 of my Great Bangkwang Experiment involved growing the plant from a tuber that I bought from the market. Now, in Part 2, we look at growing the plant from seeds derived from the plant grown in Part 1.
It took the bangkwang/yam bean pods about two weeks to mature from flower to big pod, and more than a month after that to reach seed-bearing stage. Trust me, I was keeping a sharp eye on those pods, waiting for them to dry enough so I could hear the seeds inside rattle. Finally, I saw a pod mature enough to split open, revealing some nice healthy looking seeds within.
I took that as a sign that I could help myself to the pod, and plucked and split it open. Seven pale orange-brown seeds sat inside, on alternate sides of the pod. They looked healthy and fat, and I couldn’t wait to plant them! However, I didn’t have pots available, so those seeds went into keeping for then.
Meanwhile, I told myself to keep checking on the other pods so I could harvest more seeds. Naturally, I forgot, and naturally, a couple of pods split open, quite enthusiastically. I’m never on top of my weeding, and there are always weeds and grass growing everywhere. So, I had a nice little treasure hunt on my hands, searching for the dispersed seeds among the grass and plants around the base of the plant. I found most of them within a metre or so of the mother plant, but the furthest one was about two metres away! Talk about explosive dispersal power!
Since it had rained that morning, I figured I’d better plant all the recovered seeds. I didn’t want them to sprout or rot if kept away. By this time, I had some pots available, so eight seeds were planted.
Four days later, the first seed began to sprout. Over the next several days, so did the rest – including one that I had missed finding near the mother plant. I decided to let it grow there and see how a wild plant would fare, compared to the rest I would plant in selected locations.
As for the seedlings in pots, I’ll find growing spots for them and probably give away some of the seeds since there are so many.
So finally, Part 2 of the Great Bangkwang Experiment is underway!