There is a little Greek Shop near me. Last time I stopped in, they had some very large beans. I couldn’t resist, so I bought them. These are labeled as “Greek Giant Beans” (in both English and Greek). They were packaged in Greece and most of the package markings are in Greek. To my mind, that makes them a pretty authentic “Greek Giant Bean”.
They were packed by: K. Karageorgious Bros SA of Athens, Greece. ( I’d type it in with Greek letters, but I don’t know how to get them from a PC Keyboard!).
In doing my research on these beans, there was some confusion over what species they might be. Some folks said they were Runner Beans, others said “Common Bean”. (Phaseolus Coccineus vs Phaseolus Vulgaris).
Well, there’s a simple way to find out! Common beans raise the seed up out of the dirt and the first two leaves are made out of the seed halves. Runner Beans, being generally large, have “issues” pushing a giant seed through the dirt if they got buried, so they have evolved to leave the bean in the dirt and just raise a new set of leaves on a sprout out of the dirt.
As I wanted to find out if these beans were “live” or had been killed by some processing or other, I was going to sprout some anyway. May as well stick them in some dirt and see what they do.
A definitive answer the easy way: Observation.
Here are two pictures of my sprouting bean seed. (The plant in the background is a Red Kuri Squash that is having a seed viability test done too). The pot is a 3 1/4 inch or 8 cm pot. One picture includes a dime, the other a quarter, for a size reference. Belive it or not, I selected the SMALLEST beans from the package for testing. These are really big beans!
As you can see, the seed halves are staying in the dirt and a new sprout with its own leaves is being raised. The Greek Giant Bean is a Runner Bean, no doubt about it. Phaseolus Coccineus.
Here is what it looked like all of 1 1/2 hours later. These guys grow FAST!
As I type this, about another 2 hours along, the stem is almost straight up and the leaves are starting to unfold. Just amazing to watch growth in real time.
At any rate, I’ll be planting some of these in the garden this year just to see what they look like (vine length, flower color, etc.). Besides, I woke them up, it would be rude not to let them have their “day in the sun” ;-)
UPDATE: This is about 24 hours after that last picture. I’ve set it outside with the fence in the background so it could get some full sun. Just amazing to think that 2 day before this it had barely stuck out a root.