The Mung Bean Growing Experiment
I have been sprouting mung beans for years, but have always struggled with the fact that my dried beans came from many thousands of miles away. So this year we’re experimenting with growing mung beans at home.
Our theory is that they’ll be no harder than chick peas or French beans, so we’re giving it a go!
We started by planting our mung beans in April and we’ll be blogging about their progress – what works and what doesn’t 😉 – over the coming months.
Here’s the latest mung bean news:
For the last 7 years we have been working our socks off, reducing the food miles we are consuming. Almost all our fruit and vegetables are now either home-grown or bought from local growers, which is great. But we noticed a couple of years ago that most of our pulses and grains come from abroad – often as far away as China – which seems a crazy state of affairs.
So we decided to experiment with growing our own for some of these staples and one of our first experiments is growing mung beans.
The carbon footprint of your average, humble mung bean seems bonkers. They are supposed to be able to grow in climates like the southern half of the UK, but we haven’t been able to find anyone to supply them. There might be a good reason why there’s no local supply, but we’re happy to be adventurous gardeners and are prepared to do the experimenting, so you don’t have to!
Here’s how we grew our mung beans this year.
Sowing Mung Bean Seeds – April
I wanted to make sure that my mung bean seeds hadn’t been heat-treated – i.e. weren’t sterile. So I pre-sprouted them, before sowing. This is really easy: soak a small handful of mung beans in (preferably filtered) water for 24 hours. Drain. Leave on a plate for 24 hours until you see the tiny roots starting to poke out, as a sign of germinating.
Plant out the seeds that have shown signs of germination the same day, so they don’t dry out.
I sowed the pre-germinated mung beans in module trays in our usual compost – about 1-2cm (about 1/2 inch) deep. I kept them in our greenhouse – unheated – but with plastic seed tray lids, to keep them slightly warmer at night.
I then waited.
Having seen how easy it is to grow mung bean sprouts, I was naively surprised that it took nearly 2 weeks for true seedlings to break through the surface of the soil. I guess they have to work much harder in compost than when you’re growing fresh bean sprouts!
Now, 4 weeks on, they’re going strong. I love the mung bean seedlings’ bright red stems and the glossy green sheen of the leaves.
As part of our great mung bean experiment, we’re going to be growing on half of the mung bean plants out in the garden (after acclimitising them – late May – once the frosts have passed) and half of them in the greenhouse.
I’m hoping they’ll enjoy their move and I’ll be reporting back on their progress over coming months.
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In the meantime, have you ever grown mung beans at home? Do you have top tips or questions? Please let us know via the comments box!