Planting beans and corn indoors

Last week, I planted our corn and bean seeds indoors. Most gardeners probably don't have to do this but we find it gives the plants a head start and also keeps hungry birds from nibbling on the freshly-sprouted seeds.

This is a side view of a deep-root insert.
As you can see in the second photo (to right), I like to use deep-root flat inserts because the individual cells have plenty of room for the roots. I've read in many books that beans and corn don't like to be transplanted but I've never had a problem with this. That's because of using the deep-root insert which accommodates their larger root system and because I only leave them in there for about a week after germination. I also make sure the seedlings are well-watered before and after transplanting.

This shows the nearly-full cells that I've pushed my fingers into.
The first thing I do is fill the cells with dry or lightly-moistened germination mix (found at garden centers). Then I poke my fingers into each cell to create an indentation for the seeds to rest on.

I finish filling the cells with the germination mix, press down on them to make sure they're well-filled and finish by watering the flat with lukewarm water. The warmer water helps the soil mix to more easily absorb it.

Plant corn seeds with the pointed end facing down.
One important thing I've learned over the years is about the seed orientation when planting beans, corn, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins. For all but the bean seeds, plant the more pointed end facing downward. That makes a huge difference in the germination rate of the seeds because it puts each seed in the position they need to be so they don't waste their limited energy supply on trying to properly orient themselves in order to sprout.

This might seem like a silly and tedious step but I get wonderful germination rates because I've taken a few extra seconds to make sure the seeds were correctly oriented. You'll notice in the photo where I'm holding a corn seed that they do indeed have a "pointy" end, which is to the right. That's the end that is planted facing down.

If you click on the photo of the different bean seeds on the plate at the top of this post, you'll see that there is a little "scar" in the center of the curvy side of the seed. Point that scar facing downward.

This year, I'm growing 3 types of beans. Two are pole beans ('Italian Snap' and 'Scarlet Runner') and one Italian bush bean ('Fagiolo nano').

Last but not least, I should mention that I'll keep the bean and corn seedlings indoors for about a week, then plant them out in the garden. I'll write a follow-up post on transplanting them next week.