Seed viability testing can be fun

mung beans germinating

Mung beans beginning to germinate…

I remember one of my gardening buddies, Novice Gardener, sharing a story about throwing a bunch of old seeds in a pot and expecting them to compost down because they were old. Instead, many of them germinated, and she had to hustle to separate the many seedlings.

I found myself in a similar situation recently when I decided to test a pack of mung beans that was almost two years old. Like my buddy, I didn’t expect them to have life left in them, so I took a couple of handfuls of beans and soaked them in a cup. To my surprise, they began to germinate within two days, so I put them in a larger container filled with perlite to continue soaking. I chose perlite because it’s a light medium that I thought would be easy to extract seedlings from when it was time to transplant them.

At this point, I still thought that the germination rate would be low. Oh boy, was I wrong!

mung beans germinating in perlite

Serious germination beginning – little did I know that this was just the tip of the iceberg!

By the next day, the top layer of perlite began to erupt with little bean sprouts. There were so many that they displaced the perlite, so much so that the area surrounding the container of sprouts looked like it had snowed – there was so much white perlite drifting around in the breeze!

little forest of mung bean sprouts

The little forest of bean sprouts. I did not expect this…

After that, it was plain madness. I think the entire two handfuls of beans germinated, and like beans like to do, they grew at an amazing pace!

too many mung bean plants clustered in a small space

I cannot believe these grew to this stage in less than a week!

By the end of the week, I had to quickly choose different spots to plant out the little jungle of mung bean plants. I wasn’t concerned if they survived or not, because whichever the case, they would add fertility to the soil. Well, because of the hot weather that we’ve had over the last several weeks, not all of the plants survived. However, those that did are now maturing, and we’re seeing the first bean pods growing now.

mung bean pods

Mung bean pods forming. Next generation beans, here we come!

It makes me so happy to see things grow from seed to harvest! It makes seed viability testing so satisfying!

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