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Elizabeth October 12, 2016 11:58 AM

Rice Beans
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Does anyone here grow rice beans?

I got seeds from Baker Creek and Epic seeds, both red and white. I planted lots of both on some unused backyard space between some little trees (just using the space until the trees get bigger).

I got very low germination, which in retrospect was probably a good thing, because given the right conditions they get huge.

NOW, the real issue - flowering. I knew from the get-go that they are photo-period sensitive, but I didn't worry, as I grow other of things that flower or tuberize at the fall equinox and since I live in a frost-free zone it's not an issue. We are now nearly a month past the equinox though, and there isn't even a hint of flowers on any of the plants. The ends of the tendrils look like there are flowers coming, but it's just more leaves.

The reason it seems so mounded in the photo is that there is a little lemon tree under there. They are now headed towards the grape vines near the fence. They take up a fair bit of space, and I wouldn't mind, if it produced a crop.

Has anyone else had any success growing these?

I'm in Southern California, near the coast.

imp October 12, 2016 12:31 PM

Are you wanting the lemon tree to die?

I've not grown the rice bean, and have a very different climate, so cannot help you there, sorry.+

Elizabeth October 12, 2016 01:26 PM

The tree is fine. We had some blistering hot temps recently, and I think that citrus is the happiest of the lot right now with it's little umbrella. Things are cooling now though and it's time to move out the beans.

I have another location in the yard with more room for them to stretch out next year if I get some positive feedback.

imp October 12, 2016 03:40 PM

Well, in that case, good luck with both the beans and the tree, maybe it's not like kudzu and won't hurt the tree. You'll know best as you are right there.

Worth1 October 12, 2016 04:02 PM

The problem with the blooms not forming could be too much nitrogen.


Elizabeth October 12, 2016 04:32 PM

Hi Worth,
I don't think that's the case in this instance. I didn't add any fertilizer to the planting area, and under the mulch it's a shallow layer of well-rotted compost that was laid down in the spring and below that, clay with whatever organic material has worked its way down in the last 10 years. It's not a super fertile part of the yard, which is why I thought beans would be a good choice for the space.

Worth1 October 12, 2016 04:35 PM

Give them time they might kick in.


habitat_gardener October 12, 2016 06:54 PM

Can you eat the leaves? I've seen fava leaves on menus.

Elizabeth October 12, 2016 09:07 PM

mmmm...probably. You can eat leaves from most edible beans. Fava bean and pea leaves are an easy sell - they are nice and smooth and have a nice mild flavor. These are related to cowpeas, but the leaves are furrier than any cowpeas I have grown (the fur is quite soft, almost velvety). While I know I CAN eat furry leaves. I'm not keen to do so, something about that fur...I know they probably get unfurry when cooked, but still... :)

Worth1 October 12, 2016 09:10 PM

Be like eating a mouse.:))


Elizabeth October 12, 2016 09:39 PM

Exactly ! :?!?: :)

Elizabeth October 17, 2016 12:13 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Well, I removed the rice bean plant. It had crossed the citrus terrace, a sidewalk, and started climbing the grape trellis, getting tangled in the vines. Enough is enough. It was ONE plant under there. Now I can harvest the rest of my moth beans, which were also being covered by the rice bean plant. The moth beans were a new to me crop this year as well - they did really well - very productive.

PhilaGardener October 17, 2016 06:49 AM

Impressive amount of greenery. It will make good compost. Too bad it didn't turn to fruiting.

Worth1 October 17, 2016 12:09 PM

I did some reading about these beans and it said they were "extremely"photosensitive.
You said they were in your thread starter but I didn't know just how much.
Here is what I think was going on looking at where they are from.
The sun is only up for the most 13 hours and 24 minutes.
The darkness is around 10 hours for most of the year.
In your area you dont get to that 10 hours of darkness till November.
This darkness is what triggers the blooming.
I have read about several plants that simply will not bloom if there is any interruption to that darkness during the dark period.
This could come from a street light or even an outside light being turned on.
Three plants I know of that will not bloom if there is an interruption in the dark period or not enough darkness are wild marijuana from Columbia and the equator, the jade plant and poinsettia.
Any flash of light will stop them from blooming.
There has been people try to grow the Colombian outside only to never have it bloom due to this.
Some people put a cover over it to make it bloom.

Elizabeth October 17, 2016 02:05 PM

Yeah, that was a lot of green, amazing that all came from one bean plant. The leaves were lush, and no signs of disease or bugs. Too bad I don't have any animals to feed it to - I hear it makes good fodder.

Wow. Thanks. You were able to find more specific information than me. My sources only said that it was photo-period sensitive, I couldn't find the magic number of hours.

I grow other photo-period sensitive plants like chayote and oca, and they flower or tuberize at or just after the fall equinox (although I have also seen limited flowering on my chayote at the spring equinox too). I'm lucky that we don't get frost and I can afford to wait. Normally I would have waited to see what this one would do, but it's growth seemed to be accelerating, and it was starting to cause problems with nearby plants. I have a couple places in the front yard where I can let a few plants go crazy next year. Based on their size I probably only need a few plants to get a good-sized harvest. LOL

Poinsettia country is just 20 minutes up the road from me. I remember when I heard about the darkness requirement years ago, and how they would go to great lengths to induce flowering at just the right time for the holidays. Interesting stuff.

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