Grow pulses in your home garden!
Pulses are beans, peas, and lentils that are harvested when
dry. Like the green beans many gardeners are already
familiar with, pulses are easy to grow! As an added bonus, they are as nutritious for the soil as
they are for your body. Try a few varieties in your garden, and see how well your garden grows!
Choose a good spot. Pulses prefer pH in
the 6.0-6.8 range and with well-drained, warm
soils. Choose a sunny or part-shade location.
You might want to consider adding some sand to
the pulses’ growing soil to ensure drainage. In
addition, we’ve had good success planting more
vining pulses in pots – so they can be grown on
Decide on the desired growth habit.
Some pulses grow as vines that can happily
climb a trellis, and others have a more orderly,
bushy growth. We suggest using poles or other supports for pintos and cowpea (read
package instructions for other guidance).
Choose your favorites! Most seed companies offer pulse seeds. Search their online
listings for “dry beans” and “lentils.” Some pulses come with legends and stories all their
own. Enjoy the search! You can find a link to several companies here.
Plant the seeds. Following package instructions for spacing, make holes in your plot, and
plant one seed per hole. We suggest
soaking the seeds in room temperature
water overnight to help with
Warning: Rabbits love pulses. Make
sure your tender, emerging pulses have
protection from neighborhood rabbits
with suitable fencing.
Mind the weather. Pulses are drought-
tolerant, but even moisture is
important, especially as flowers and
pods develop. You’ll want to water
more frequently to get your plants
started, but then watch how they are doing after that. Wet pulse plants are susceptible to
white mold, so avoid handling plants during wet conditions.
Harvest time! Harvest when pods are paper-like and dry. You can remove the seeds
from the pods in several ways—
1. Remove the shells by hand, preferably on a front porch with a refreshing glass of
lemonade nearby. Keep those shells to put in your compost pile or add directly to your
garden, as they add nitrogen and other nutrients back into the soil.