Several sprouts did have late success with their vines from last year. You can read about our problems below and what we have decided to try instead this year. We were able to save seeds; sending some to Shirley Meniece as well as saving some for our group. Our goal is to have enough nice plants to take to the membership at the June picnic.
Purple hyacinth bean (Lablab purpurea) is a vigorous (take that word seriously!) ornamental vine. It is not a native, but comes from Africa. Purple-pink blossoms turn into lovely reddish purple pods in the fall growing about the size of lima beans with 3-4 smaller pea-sized seeds inside. The vine adds great color to any garden and can serve as a pollinator plant for bees. The vines take lots of summer heat and are drought tolerant. In our climate (Zone 6b) the vines die back and only occasionally does a seed self sow. Most of us save the seeds and they can be started now indoors or sowed direct after the last frost date. Some sources say that Thomas Jefferson’s favorite nurseryman Bernard McMahon sold hyacinth bean vine plants to Jefferson in 1804. Because of this, the hyacinth bean is also known as Jefferson bean.
The vine can grow to 10' and requires staking. Note: The mature seeds contain toxins and should not be eaten raw!
|Last year's vine growing up a |
no-longer used basketball hoop in my driveway
Last year we were a very anxious group - our seeds sprouted quickly and of course took off quickly (remember - vigorous grower!). The seeds were started in small 6 pack cells. We were very anxious to transplant into the 4" pots - but many had difficulties with their vines after the initial potting up. The stems were thin and crimped easily in transplanting and so we lost a lot. There was also very little root growth early. Afterwards we read that this plant, although easy to grow, likes little disturbance.
This year we decided to continue to recycle our milk/water jugs. Many people here are still using bottled water after our water crisis last year, so lots of jugs are available. But this is not winter sowing, so we approached it differently. After transplanting in May or June the jugs can still be recycled in our city recycling.
|Dried seeds collected last fall|
|Our jugs - notice how they are cut with the|
handle intact in the back to provide strength
in carrying and for the weight of the soil.
|WV Sprout has 3 appearing! |
|Kam Sprout has one up, too. |
Two others look they will be
| Forgetful Sprout says the arrow points|
to one just breaking through the soil.
|This plant is the best one|
so far. Smaller ones in the
|Look what happened over the weekend! |
|Kitty Spouts bean |
on May 18, 2015.
|Another photo of Kitty Sprout's plant|
|Reaching to the roof.|
|Same plant from other side.|