A while ago I told you about my early attempts at hydroponics, and I’m still doing it – trying to better understand the plants of this world, especially the ones we eat. I haven’t started providing nutrients yet, so I still can’t hope to see actual food growing, but I’m still experimenting and learning some things.
Latest attempts: navy beans (Paholeus vulgaris) and black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata).
– Most noticeable result, for the navy beans: they’re huge. What you see in that picture came from just 5 seeds. I guess that’s to be expected – the seeds are much much bigger than the previous ones I’ve tried. Although the black-eyed peas are also quite bigger than mung beans, and yet the plants grew to almost exactly the same size. Which brings us to the next conclusion:
– I’m starting to see the family resemblance. The black-eyed pea plants act very much like the mung bean plants, and it was no surprise for me to learn that they both share the same genus (Vigna). They both grow a long stem ending with the two cotyledons, with no branching. And they’re both very similar to navy beans in the form of sprouting – all have seeds with two parts loosely connected, and during sprouting the two parts separate and the cotyledons come out from within. Then those two parts of the seed remain attached to the stem for a while, giving more and more of their contents, until they become nothing more than dry husks and fall off.
– I wasn’t sure previously, but now I know that the very long stems I get from hydroponics compared to soil growing is indeed the product of abundance of water. I’m not quite sure if it’s good or bad for the chance to grow food out of it.
– The navy beans have different shapes for the cotyledons and the other leaves. And the regular leaves appear to grow only in threes (after some Wikipedia reading, I understand that it’s probably considered to be a single leaf with three leaflets).
– Some of the navy bean sprouts seemed to have been blocked by their own husks. They didn’t grow at all while the rest were growing very well, so I thought maybe the husk was blocking it (because it was still around it in a way that might prevent the two parts from separating). I tore the husk myself, and the next day they returned to growing fine. I wonder if that happens in nature as well, and prevents some of the seeds from turning into plants.
That’s it for now.