How To Pre-Sprout Beans for Higher Yields and Earlier Harvest

Posted on Apr 20, 2015

With our last frost date fast approaching in Portland (April 26th), it’s time to begin getting warm-season crops ready for planting. Beans germinate quite slowly in cool soils and will definitely appreciate the coming warm weather.

If you’re like us, you’re eager to plant. It feels good, and ensures that you’ll get the earliest crop possible. Here’s a trick to get a jump-start on germination, which leads to higher yields and earlier harvest: Pre-sprout bean seeds!

Pre-Sprout beans for early harvest and high yeilds

How To Pre-Sprout Beans

What you’ll need

    How to Pre-Sprout Beans

  • Bean seeds (plant a combination of bush and runner in various colors for a continual, beautiful harvest)
  • Paper Towel squares
  • Mister or Spray Bottle
  • Mason Jar


1. Cut as many sheets of paper towels as you have varieties of beans to plant. Each sheet can accommodate 20-30 seeds, so you may have to add more sheets if you’re doing a very heavy planting.
2. Lay out your paper towels on your work surface, and spray them so that they are damp, but not soaking wet. Distribute bean seeds in rows on the paper towel, leaving about an inch between each seed.
3. Starting on one edge, carefully roll the paper towel around your seeds until the entire sheet is rolled up and all the beans are contained inside. Fold this tube in half and and insert it into the mason.
4. Repeat for each sheet of beans. If you’re planting multiple varieties, be sure to label your rolls to keep track. A sharpie and rubber band works perfectly.
5. Close your jar, and keep it indoors in a cool place out of direct sun. Each morning, mist lightly inside the jar.
6. After a few days, open up one of your rolls and inspect a seed or two. When you notice little “tails” appearing on your seeds. Discard any seeds that don’t show signs of germination, and you’re all done! After you pre-sprout beans, they’re ready to be planted following the normal procedure outlined on your seed packets!

And there you have it! When you pre-sprout beans using these steps, you plant only the viable seeds, which means higher yields because all of your seedlings will develop into plants. Plus, you’ll be taking your first bites of these delicious veggies up to two weeks sooner than your neighbors. Yum! What are your garden tricks? Share with us in the comments!

1 Comment

  1. Jamie
    May 7, 2018

    So I used this method and then promptly forgot about the beans for 4 days . When I opened the jar, some CO2 had built up inside and the beans smell quite yeasty/pungent. No mold or obvious degradation of the beans yet though. I’ve already started another batch because I’m assuming these ones might have fermented a bit and probably won’t sprout. Any idea if there’s any hope still of these germinating? Thanks!


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