Velvet Beans
Velvet Beans
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Velvet Beans are a summer legume. The vines may reach 12 to 15 feet in length, and the roots grow as long as 20 to 30 feet. This legume looks much like kudzu (except you can control it). In years past they were grown for cattle and hogs. The Velvet Bean has been grown in the United States as a field crop since 1890, however its popularity declined after 1941. Velvet Beans are primarily grown now for deer plots.  They are an excellent wildlife food, and deer will travel a good distance for them.    Velvet Beans grow well on any well-drained land as far north as Tennessee and North Carolina.

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Benefits

Velvet Beans’ heavy root and vine growth provide an excellent Summer cover crop that greatly improves the soil organic matter and soil tilt. Over the Summer the plant provides around 120 pounds of Nitrogen for the next crop, along with giving weed control and some nematode suppression. The beans it produces are a concentrated high protein feed (Morrison, “Feeds and Feeding,” 21st edition, 1950, says 18 percent protein for beans with pods and 23 percent in the bean alone).

 

One of the main advantages to Velvet Beans is that they last in the field over the Winter and provide high protein feed until Spring. During some years it will produce mature beans.

Planting Guide

Velvet Beans prefers sandy loam. Ideal pH is between 5.8 and 7.0, with an ideal soil temperature of 65 °F. The seed is best planted between April and July, at a depth between 1/2" and 2 inches. It does not need any Nitrogen, however it will respond well to Phosphorus and Potash according to a soil test. Soybean inoculant will also help this plant. Velvet Beans will need a good, soaking rain for it to germinate, and then it can begin grazing between 45 to 60 days. It will bloom around mid-September in south Alabama, growing to around 18 to 20 feet in length. Temperatures below 30 degrees will terminate the plant.

Details

Here’s what you can expect when you plant Petcher Seeds’ Velvet Beans.

Scientific Name:

Mucuna pruriens

Seed Count:

500 seed / LB.

Seasons:

Velvet Beans can be planted from April through July.

Planting Rate:

10 to 15 LBs. / acre