Growing Mung Beans
How to Grow and Sprout Mung Beans
The mung bean, scientific name Vigna radiata, is commonly grown as a sprout. As a member of the of the Fabaceae (legume family) it is closely related to plants such as chick pea and broad beans.The sprouts are rich in bioavailable vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, phytochemicals and energy; such nutrients are vital for human health, and have led to mung beans becoming part of many cuisines.
Mung beans can be grown both indoors and out. As well as growing mung beans as sprouts, they can also be planted out in the garden. Late spring, when soils are warm, is the best time for planting as the soil is warm, and beans should be able to be harvested in as little as three months (typically 100 days).
Mung bean seeds are usually green or brown, but some tropical varieties are yellow, and they are normally half the diameter of a soybean seed.
The appearance of mung bean plants is more like garden beans than soybeans, and they can grow up to 24 to 30 inches (60–75 cm) tall; they also have smaller leaves than soybeans, and a moderate number of branches. Pods are three to four inches long, with 10 to 15 seeds each, and there are 30 to 40 pods in every plant.
The color of the pods turns darker as they mature, making it easy for growers to known when harvesting time is nearing.
There are a few varieties of mung beans available. These varieties include Berken –green-coloured seeds, and preferred by many buyers – and Texsprout, which produces larger seeds than Berken.
Mung Bean Soil Preparation
Proper soil preparation should be conducted when growing mung beans. It is best to conduct planting in the spring after the last frost passes.
The soil should be broken with the use of a garden spade to a depth of at least six inches. Sprinkle two inches of compost on the top of the soil, and then rake the soil smooth.
Although mung beans are easier to plant than many other bean crops, an ample amount of soil preparation is beneficial.
The ideal season for mung beans to be planted in most northern hemisphere locations is late May and mid-June, when the weather is not too cold, not too warm, and the last chance of frost has passed. However, in other parts of the globe, such as in Asia, mung beans should to be planted in mid-November, after the rainy season has passed.
Indoor Planting Mung Beans
For indoor planting, it is essential to use a container that has a drainage hole in the bottom, as mung beans plants will drown when soaked in too much water. A large clay pot, wooden barrel or other similar container serves well.
Place at least three to five inches (7–12 cm) of soil in the container and make sure that the soil has a neutral pH, from 6.2 to 7.2, to promote healthy sprout growth. Water the newly planted beans to provide preliminary moisture for germination. Do not overwater. Mung beans will not do well on oversaturated and soggy soil.
Cover the container with a lid, such as a plastic garbage can lid, newspaper, or planter bottom. This will help keep the soil and seeds slightly moist, and will promote the development of sprouts.
Mung Beans sprouts should be seen after about a week; the warmer the temperature, the faster the seed germination.
Place the seedlings in a sunny location to encourage faster growth. It is not advisable for the plants to be watered frequently; wait until the soil becomes dry before watering.
Outdoor Planting of Mung Beans
For outdoor planting, the recommended seeding rate is 15 pounds per acre for wide rows. The soil should have a pH of 6.2 to 7.2, and seedlings sown in a sunny location.
Seeds can be planted directly in rows, at a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm), spaced at 2 to 4 inches (5–10 cm) apart, and with 30 to 36 inches (75–90 cm) between rows.
The pre-sprouting of seeds before sowing is advisable; this can be achieved by soaking the beans in water for 24 hours. Next drain, and leave them for another 24 hours until tiny roots start to poke out. Germinated seeds should then be planted straight away to avoid them drying out.
Sow the germinated beans into compost that is about two to three inches deep (5–8 cm), and place tray lids/or other cover over them to keep them warmer during the night. Seedlings should be seen after about two weeks.