How to Grow Mung Beans Easily

How to Grow Mung Beans Easily

Mung beans are a popular legume garden plant in Asia (related to adzuki and cowpea) but many other parts of the world have not heard of them. However, if you have ever eaten sprouts in stir fry or salads, chances are you have eaten mung bean sprouts.

Mung beans are as easy to grow as green beans and the entire plant is edible. In fact, their nutritious sprouts are akin to a kind of super food. Use these tips below and learn how to grow mung beans easily, at home and in the garden.

Planting Location

Select a location that will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Mung beans grow equally well when planted in raised beds, containers, or in the ground.

Beans normally grow as either bush (standing by itself) or pole form (twirling around a pole), but some like mung bean occurs in both forms. They can grow as tall as 5 feet high in the bush form.

mung bean bush
Mung bean bush growing in upright form.

When to Plant

Mung beans are a warm season crop. Plant in late spring after all danger of frost has passed. The beans will need 90 days to go from seed time until harvest time and if you plant seeds in 2-week intervals you can keep a harvest of fresh mung beans going until the first fall frost.

How to Plant

The best soil for mung beans is fertile, somewhat sandy loam soil with slightly acidic pH. Before planting, till the soil to remove weeds and prepare a stable seed bed; but if the weather is dry, only till minimally to avoid the top soil from drying out excessively.

mung bean seed pods
Mung bean seed pods

Prepare the soil by incorporating 2 inches of compost into the soil. This will keep the soil loose and enable it to drain away excess moisture. Plant the seeds 1.5 inches deep and 2 inches apart in the prepared soil. Rows should be spaced 2-3 feet apart. 

Food and Water

Mung beans often will not need a constant application of plant food, although they do require phosphorus, potassium, and other micronutrients. They are nitrogen-fixing plants and the initial application of compost is all they will need to keep them fed during the growing season. Keep the soil moist while the bean plants are young, and then reduce watering to about once or twice a week.

mung bean flower
Mung bean will develop flowers after about 2 months from planting.

Harvesting the Mung Beans

Mung beans develop in pods like other legumes. How to know when to harvest them? Generally, you should harvest the beans when one half to two-thirds of the seed pods have matured.

mung bean seeds inside their pod
Mung bean seeds inside their pod.

Not all the pods mature at the same time, so it is not easy to determine the best time to harvest. Unless you are farming on a large scale, hand picking the pods as they mature seems more than adequate for most growers.

How to Sprout Mung Beans

Mung bean sprouts have a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. I just love them! They are really easy to sprout and will provide you with a quick source of fresh nutrition. In times when food security has become a major global issue, mung bean sprouts fill a very important gap. All they need is 4-5 days to sprout!

mung beans starting to sprout
Mung beans starting to sprout after receiving moisture.
  • Rinse the mung beans first of all, and place them in an open container and cover with water. Allow the beans to soak for 12 hours at least.
  • The beans would have begun to swell up the next day after absorbing water. Some will even start to sprout. Drain the water off, and rinse the beans again. Place them in a clean open container (with no water) and place the container in a cool, dark place.
  • Repeat the rinsing and draining process each day until the white spouts appear.
  • On the fourth day, the sprouts are ready to eat, but you can wait another day to get the most optimal sprouts.
  • Before eating them, be sure to remove the bean husks. Place the sprouts into a container filled with water; the husks will float to the surface, and can then be removed. Meanwhile, the sprouts can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days if you are not eating them so soon.
mung beans sprouting
This is how to grow mung beans easily, at least for the sprouting stage! Here, a paper towel is lifted to show the new sprouts.

The sprouts are low in calories and contain protein, fiber, vitamins B, C, & K, iron, and other minerals. Not only that, but they contain phytonutrients, flavonoids, and enzymes that our body needs. They taste wonderful when cooked stir-fried with some garlic, soy sauce, and a splash of oil.

Growing Mung Bean Microgreens

Mung beans can also be grown as microgreens. Growing them as microgreens means simply just extending their growth cycle a little longer past the sprouting stage. They can then be harvested within a week!

The best way on how to grow mung beans easily as microgreens is to grow them indoors, using a grow tray (or any suitable container), a medium (it may/may not be soil), and provide them with adequate light (sunlight/grow lights).

  • Firstly, prepare your grow tray. Make sure the selected container does not contain holes where water could leak out.
  • Now add the soil into the grow tray. The growing medium may consist of a grow mat, sawdust, or even moist tissue paper, and not necessarily soil. However, if you use soil, ensure the soil is sterile. This is to minimize the chances of soil pathogens infecting your microgreens. In my experience, other soilless mediums are just as effective (and hygienic). The reason why the grow medium is not really important is because you are going to harvest the microgreens as soon as possible before their roots have even developed.
  • After the soil, plant the mung bean seeds in the growing medium and spread them evenly across the grow tray. Water the soil evenly but don’t overwater. You can use a spray bottle for this purpose.
  • Now cover the seeds with a slightly moist paper towel. Check on the seeds every other day to see if they are sprouting. Once they sprout, you can remove the paper towel. When the leaves start coming up (usually in a week), the microgreens can be harvested.
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