What Does Pea and Bean Inoculant Do?

By Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

Question: What Does Bean and Pea Inoculant Do and Is It Really Necessary?

peas-and-bean-inoculantMany sources recommend using an inoculant when planting the seed of legumes beans and peas, especially when planting in cool, wet soil.

Answer: Peas, beans, and other legumes can fix their own nitrogen with the help of rhizobia bacteria. These bacteria are soil based microorganisms that have a symbiotic relationship with legumes. The benefit is a higher yield and stronger plants.

Rhizobia bacteria are found naturally in most garden soils, but they tend to be less active

dr-earth-label in cool, damp soil. To jump start their spring growth you can use an inoculant, a powder containing millions of rhizobia. You can either coat the seeds by shaking them in a plastic bag with the inoculant or simply mix the powder into the planting soil.

I personally use in my mountain soils everytime beans and peas are planted in the garden, or raised beds.  It really makes a difference.