Inoculants for bush snap beans

Asked January 25, 2020, 9:50 PM EST

I live in Portland. I want to plant bush snap beans and pole beans in a place that has never had beans before. I've been reading that I need an inoculant to make the most of the nitrogen fixing benefits from the beans. So I have several questions. Is an inoculant a good idea? What is the name of the inoculant for bush snap beans (rhizobia phaseoli???) and pole beans (Rhizobium leguminosarum???)? Where can I buy these? Naomi's said that they were having trouble getting any and Portland Nursery said that they don't recommend it any more. And I don't want to buy something off of Amazon that will be a waste of money. Finally, what is the best way to apply (soaking the means, putting the inoculant in with the beans when they're planted, etc)? Thanks for the help.

Multnomah County Oregon

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. The addition of inoculants has been around for decades. It is typically recommended for commercial growers, who risk lots of money if they have a crop failure. Over time, reputable seed companies (which are suppliers for home garden centers) have inoculated the seeds in packets before sale. You are correct that the rhizobium is species specific, so, if you are growing several species, the correct strain must be procured. In general, we gardeners west of the Cascades and East of the Coast Range have soils that are ‘friendly’ to these bacteria. So, they are in the soil naturally. Here is an Extension article from another state that explains: Hope this helps. Good luck!

Thanks, Kristena. This is great information. I think that I'll try it without the inoculant first and see if any nodules appear. If not, I'll continue to try to find a local source for bean inoculant. Thank you again.