by Jennifer Poindexter
Mung bean sprouts are a traditional staple in Asian cuisine. They may be sprouted and grown indoors year-round.
Yet, some people like to grow them outdoors and enjoy mung beans in other forms. If you’re trying to learn how to grow mung beans to eat fresh or dry for later, you’re in the right place.
I’m also going to walk you through how to sprout them. No matter how you wish to enjoy your harvest, mung beans are low-maintenance and a great crop for most any gardener.
Here’s what you should know to grow, dry, and sprout mung beans:
What You’ll Learn:
- The basics of mung bean cultivation, including their growth requirements, planting techniques, and maintenance practices.
- How to successfully harvest and dry mung beans for long-term storage or later use.
- Step-by-step guide on how to sprout mung beans at home, providing you with fresh sprouts year-round.
- Potential problems such as pests and diseases that can affect mung beans, and how to prevent or treat these issues.
How to Grow Mung Beans
Mung beans are a nutrient rich plant that are related to cowpeas. Though we usually see them in the form of bean sprouts, they can also be grown in your garden.
These plants grow in a bush form which is great for fitting more of them in a smaller garden space. You could even grow them in a container.
When growing these beans, they can be treated similarly to green beans. The growing location should provide full to partial sunlight.
You also should select soil that’s high in nutrients, loose, and well-draining. Wait to plant until the threat of frost is over since mung beans are a warm-weather crop and don’t respond well to cool temperatures.
When you’re ready to plant, prepare the soil for seed by tilling it. From there, sow your seeds directly into the growing space at an approximate depth of one-inch.
Cover the seeds lightly with soil and ensure it remains damp while you wait for the seeds to sprout. It should take approximately one week.
Mung beans should have a half-foot of space between each plant, after sprouting, and three feet between rows.
Once the plants are established, continue to water them deeply and fertilize them once per month with a balanced fertilizer.
Remain alert to the few threats which could impact your mung bean harvest. The most common insect to feed on this plant is the aphid.
Aphids are common pests in most areas and can be treated with an insecticide. You may also spray your plants with soapy water to dislodge the pests.
Be sure to treat this issue quickly to deter a larger infestation from impacting your harvest.
The diseases which impact mung beans most frequently are fungal based problems. Deter these issues by planting in areas with ample sunlight, well-draining soil, and by watering your crops earlier in the day.
Fungal issues thrive in cold, damp areas. By planting in opposite conditions, you may avoid these problems.
Also, by watering earlier in the day, you provide time for the foliage to dry before the temperatures drop over night.
Should you notice fungal issues on your mung beans, be sure to treat promptly with a fungicide and remove any damaged foliage. Don’t compost the foliage as this could further spread the disease.
It can take up to four months for these plants to be ready to harvest. The pods of these beans are furry and approximately a half-foot long when ready.
Each pod should contain around ten beans. You’ll pull up the entire plant at the time of harvest and dry it – which we’ll discuss further in our next section.
Once your plants are harvested, it’s time to learn how to proceed in the process of growing and utilizing mung beans.
How to Dry Mung Beans
Mung beans make excellent sprouts, but they can also be used as a dried bean or even canned for later use.
No matter what you have in store for your mung beans, it’s important to know how to dry them should you wish to sprout them, use them as a dried bean, or replant them for the coming season.
When your plant is ready to harvest, remove it in its entirety from the ground. Find a shaded location that’s protected from moisture but has adequate airflow.
In this area, hang your plants upside down and wait for them to dry fully. The pods should drop onto the floor.
When done, collect the pods and remove the beans. You may dry them in a dehydrator or in a sunny location.
Ensure they’re dried completely before storing them in a cool, dry location in an airtight container. If they aren’t, this increases your chances of the beans molding.
These are the steps you can take to dry your mung beans for later use. Drying them could allow you to utilize your harvest long after the growing season has ended.
How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts
We’ve discussed how you can grow fresh mung beans and dry your harvest. Yet, sprouting mung beans is one of this plant’s most popular uses.
Follow these steps to learn how to sprout mung beans inside your home year-round for a fresh treat in a variety of dishes:
1. Clean the Mung Beans
Begin the sprouting process by rinsing your mung beans in cold water. Like most dried beans, they can have some grit around them.
Therefore, it’s best to rinse the beans prior to use to ensure you don’t have any added ingredients in your sprouts.
2. Soak the Mung Beans
Once the beans are clean, soak them in a bowl of cold water overnight. This should encourage the beans to soften and take on water.
This is vital to the sprouting process. Some people soak their mung beans for as little as eight hours, but if you have the time, let the beans soak.
3. Prepare the Mung Bean Trays
The next step requires drainage trays. You can purchase these for sprouting. They typically come with a solid tray in the bottom and a tray with holes that fits in the top.
You could also make your own by drilling holes in the bottom of a tray and placing it inside another solid tray.
Once your trays are ready, it’s time to get started by lining the top one with a piece of fabric or a dish towel.
Pour the soaked beans over the towel in an even layer. Wrap the beans in the fabric and pour water over them.
When finished, pour the water out of the bottom tray to ensure the beans aren’t left sitting in oversaturated conditions.
4. Add Weight to the Mung Beans
This next step is vital when you’re growing any type of sprout or microgreen. These plants need weight. It presses them into the moisture and encourages stronger roots.
Place a slightly heavy dish (such as a bowl or plate) on the beans. Leave it throughout the growing process to keep the beans pressed down into the tray.
5. Cover the Mung Beans
The next step is providing darkness for your mung beans to encourage sprouting.
Wrap the tray in a dark cloth or towel to block any type of light from the beans for at least three days. Place the tray in a warm location that’s out of the way and let the beans germinate.
I like to place my sprouts on top of my refrigerator. This supplies a small amount of heat to the bottom of the tray but also keeps it out of my way.
You could try placing the tray on a growing mat in an out-of-the-way corner of your home as well.
6. Water the Mung Beans and Harvest
You won’t leave the mung beans completely to themselves over the next three to five days. Water the mung bean sprouts once in the morning and once at night.
Be sure to allow the water to run over the beans heavily to provide the moisture they need. You should have sprouts that are ready to enjoy within five days.
Once the sprouts are ready, use clean scissors to cut them from the tray. Then rinse them before use. These are the steps you must take to grow your own mung bean sprouts.
You now know how to grow mung beans, dry them, and sprout them. This is a versatile crop that could be useful around your home.
Mung beans are a delicious ingredient in many recipes, but they can even be used as livestock feed. No matter your reason for growing mung beans, hopefully this information will help you find success with this crop.
Mung Bean Sprouts Quick Growing Reference Chart
|Clean the Mung Beans: Rinse the mung beans in cold water to remove any grit or debris.
|Soak the Mung Beans: Place the beans in a bowl of cold water and let them soak overnight to soften and absorb water.
|Prepare the Mung Bean Trays: Line the top tray of a two-tray setup (one with drainage holes, one without) with a piece of fabric or a dish towel. Spread the soaked beans evenly over the towel, wrap them in it, and pour water over them.
|Add Weight to the Mung Beans: Place a slightly heavy dish (like a bowl or plate) on the beans to press them into the moisture, encouraging stronger roots.
|Cover the Mung Beans: Wrap the tray in a dark cloth or towel and place it in a warm location for about three days to promote germination.
|Water the Mung Beans and Harvest: Water the mung bean sprouts twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Harvest sprouts that are ready to enjoy within five days.
- Mung beans are a versatile, nutrient-rich plant that can be grown in your garden, container, or indoors for sprouting. They are related to cowpeas and can be grown similarly to green beans.
- When planting mung beans, it’s crucial to ensure the soil is nutrient-rich, loose, and well-draining. They are a warm-weather crop and don’t respond well to cool temperatures, hence, planting should commence after the threat of frost is over.
- To harvest mung beans, uproot the entire plant when the pods are approximately half a foot long. The plant is then dried in a shaded location with adequate airflow.
- The process of sprouting mung beans includes cleaning, soaking, preparing the sprouting trays, adding weight, providing darkness and watering the beans. The sprouting process typically takes between three to five days.
- Mung beans can face threats such as aphids and fungal diseases. These can be managed with the use of insecticides, fungicides, and proper gardening practices like watering early in the day and ensuring the planting area is well-draining and has ample sunlight.
- Once harvested, mung beans can be utilized in a myriad of ways including as a fresh or dried ingredient in recipes, sprouted for salads and stir-fries, or even used as livestock feed.