Should I Soak Beans Before Planting? (What You Should Know)

Some gardeners and farmers recommend you dip the bean seeds in water over a period of time before planting them.

Some claim that the grains will germinate faster if they are previously submerged. Some say with hot water, others not. As a gardener myself, here’s what I know about planting bean seeds:

Yes, you should soak your bean seeds for 10 – 24 hours in water before planting. Soaking in water will help the seeds to sprout and reduce the germination time, which means your plants will grow healthier and faster. However, avoid soaking bean seeds for more than 24 hours as this might cause seed rot.

Others advise not soaking the bean seeds at all. In either case, you have to decide on why you planted the seeds in the first place, how fast you want it to grow, and whether you want a heavier harvest or just a few sprouts. 

Plant the beans after frost has passed. Because they are sensitive to low temperatures, beans need warm, moist, well-drained soil to germinate. Beans have shallow root systems, requiring frequent and careful cultivation.


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In moist soil or hot water, the seed coat softens and the interior swells. The root grows first, pushing through the seed coat.

Once the leaves and stem push above the ground, the leaves quickly unfold. If you are potting your seedlings, soak the pots before planting so they will decompose quickly.

Caution: when planting Bean seed

Bean seeds sown directly in the garden may not germinate, particularly when the soil is cool and moist. They need moisture and heat.

If the soil is too cold, the seeds can rot in the ground before they sprout. Soaking bean seeds before sowing will soften the outer shell of the seed and speed up the germination process. Bean seeds can take as long as two weeks to germinate.

Soaked seeds usually show signs of germination within three to four days.

To soak bean seed, use warm water no more than 40 degrees and then wash well with water at room temperature, the seeds that are floating after soaking discard them since they will not give good plants or simply will not germinate. You could also soak in hot water, it softens the layer and allows the seed to germinate faster. The water should be no more than 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 37 degrees Celsius) to avoid cooking the beans .

In this article, you’ll learn more about the effects of soaking before planting beans, and the factors affecting it.

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To Soak Bean Seed…

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Seeds need oxygen to germinate, so they won’t germinate while underwater. The grains must be removed from the water before sowing.

The Iowa State University Extension and National Gardening Association recommend soaking bean seeds, noting that these seeds have a very hard coating.

Soaking, especially in hot water, softens the coat and allows the seed to germinate faster. There are different types of soaking with different amounts of water.

While soaking before planting, mix the beans with 1/3 – 2/3 of water. You cannot use too much water because the beans only absorb a certain amount. 

However, you can immerse them for a long time. The water should be no more than 60 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit (15 – 37 degrees Celsius) to avoid cooking the beans. Soak the seeds overnight, stirring them periodically to make sure they are evenly moist.

Seeds should be sown the next day, spaced 4 inches (10 centimeters) apart and 1-1 / 2 to 2 inches (3.81 – 5 centimeters) deep in rows 12 – 14 inches (30 to 35 centimeters) away.

Or not soak

The University of Illinois Extension Service notes that most bean seeds tend to crack and germinate poorly if the moisture level in the soil is too high.

It’s against the pre-soak. In contrast, the University of Illinois and Walden University suggest planting the beans without pre-soaking them but only 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) deep in the soil. Follow with copious watering immediately afterward.

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Adequate, well-drained soil will retain moisture without waterlogging and will encourage germination. Another problem with soaking beans before planting is that a halo is formed.

Check the seeds for spots, wrinkles, or a yellow color that indicates the potential for disease caused by moisture. Throw away any infected bean seeds.

Decision Making

Bean diseases turn plants yellowish-green and suppress pod production. Diseases and pests are bacterial infections that usually appear on wet plants or watery grains, pods, leaves, and stems. It can be transmitted between damp plants or seeds.

Selecting resistant bean varieties and caring for plants and seeds dry is the best way to deal with disease.

Ultimately, the decision you have to make is whether the need for rapid germination justifies the increased risk of plant disease from pre-soaking the seeds.

Bean sowing season

Bean sowing season:- The best time to plant beans is when temperatures oscillate between 15 ° C and 30 ° C during the growth cycle of the plant, the optimum temperature being between 18 ° C and 25 ° C.

You must bear in mind that the grain does not withstands low temperatures and frost.

A tip on how to plant beans is that this plant needs direct sunlight. However, in areas with very intense solar radiation, it can be sown in an area where it is shaded by larger plants such as corn.

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●     Beans prefer light but frequent waterings.

●     We can add a little soil around the plant when it is about 10cm tall to give the stem more strength.

●     Keep our plants free of weeds, try to remove the roots to prevent them from sprouting again.

●     Bush beans may need a little support if the plant produces a lot of fruit. Associate the varieties of mata with pumpkin, corn, beets and broccoli. Avoid garlic and onion.

●     Guide beans need support (a mesh) in order to develop. You can place it when the plants are about 10cm. These plants develop small tendrils to grab onto the mesh or guide.

●     Associate this type of beans with corn, pumpkin, potato, carrot, cucumber and cabbage. Avoid associating with beets, broccoli, garlic and onion.

●     Bean flowers and other legumes attract beneficial insects to our garden.


Among the aspects to take into account in how to sow beans is that the bean plant should be grown in a land with good drainage, fertile soil, rich in organic matter and with a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5.

These plants can be symbiotically associated with bacteria known as risorios , being able to fix the nitrogen from the air in the soil in the form of ammonia or nitrate, therefore, a tip on how to plant beans is that by using these bacteria you will be providing the necessary nitrogen and you will further enrich the soil with this element.

Before sowing the beans, the inoculation of the seeds can be done with these bacteria using inoculants that are found in the market.

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Cultivation Associations

The pre-Columbian association consists of planting beans, corn and squash. Beans are generally planted when the corn is about a foot long. In this way, the corn crop comes to serve as a tutor for the beans, while they provide the nitrogen it needs.

The pumpkins are planted in the spaces between corn plants. This crop helps mulch the soil and protects the beans from the sun in summer.

Although beans get along well with almost all plants, they should not be planted alongside the garlic, leek, fennel, or onion crop .

How to plant beans in the ground

Bean cultivation can be done directly in situ , at a depth of 3 cm to 7 cm (3 or 4 cm deep in heavy soil and greater depths in lighter soils). Germination normally occurs within two weeks.

Among the tips on how to sow beans is that the separation may vary depending on the cultivated variety and the growing conditions, but in general a distance of 40 to 60 cm between planting rows and 7 – 10 cm between plants is considered appropriate. .

One important tip on how to plant beans is to remove invasive plants that compete for nutrients, especially in the first month of cultivation.

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Bean harvest

The harvest depends a lot on the bean crop and the growing conditions, the time in which the bean harvest is done generally oscillates between 80 to 100 days after germination.

This can be distinguished because the pods of the plant are dry and can be harvested by hand in small plantations.

However, in larger plantations, the harvest is carried out when 90% of the pods are dried by cutting or tearing the plants, either manually or with the use of machines used specifically for this purpose. It is also possible to harvest in advance, when the pods are yellow , to later allow the uprooted plants to dry completely in the sun.

A good way to reduce the gas caused by these seeds is to soak them overnight before cooking. The water used to soak them should be thrown away as it contains the sugars that are difficult to digest that produce the annoying flatulence.


Discover the secret to successful bean cultivation in our latest blog. Learn why soaking beans before planting is a game-changer for optimal growth. Uncover the science behind this simple yet effective technique, enhancing your gardening prowess. Elevate your bean-planting experience with insights, tips, and a step-by-step guide. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned gardener, this blog ensures your beans thrive from the start. Dive into the world of bean cultivation and unlock the potential of your garden.

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Soaking beans before planting goes a long way in aiding for fast germination, when soaking you also have to be careful so that it won’t soak for too long and damage the seed.

This article would enable the sower to know everything about bean soaking and the right time to plant your seed.

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