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castor beans

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Castor Beans

Postby sweetnuts » Mar 30, 2008 8:16 am

Thanks for all the input re these Castor Beans. I did purchase a pkg.planted them March 17th and they are all coming up. I put some last year seeds in the freezer for 8 hrs. planted them to day.I gathered tons of seeds last year so have plenty to play around with. I am enjoying this forum and appreciate all the information from everyone.
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Postby patty » Mar 31, 2008 11:51 pm

Glad to hear you have some castor beans growing sweetnuts. I just sowed mine tonight.
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Castor Bean Dangers.

Postby Durgan » Apr 01, 2008 5:24 am

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/plmar99.htm#ricin Facts about Ricin.

The beans should be handled with rubber gloves. A worker in a nursery told me her job was sorting beans from the pods, and she got a severe rash on her hands when sorting the beans. She told me this while I was buying seeds one year. So handle taking reasonable precautions.

My Pomeranian (6 months) ate two beans from my seedling pots about six years ago. I knew that two beans were missing. He threw up one partially chewed and I could not find the other. I observed him carefully, and he started to shudder after about an hour. I called Animal Poison Hotline in the US and got a quick lesson on ricin. I took the dog to an after hours veterinary hospital, and $800.00 later the next day he was just fine. I don't think the dog chewed the bean just broke the outer skin. It was an expensive experience. Exercise due care.

Usually the seeds are ripened on the tree. I pick them after they are brown, and are dry. The seeds are stored in a plastic pail in the shed all winter until needed. They are started indoors about 1 March and the germination rate is almost 100%, and the plant grows quickly. The plants are put in full sun in the ground after danger of frost has passed about the third week of May in Zone 5. Each plant has several hundred seeds, so I cut the clusters off and destroy them, so animals cannot ingest them, since to do so is a sure and painful death, by ricin poisoning.

I grow the plant because of the tropical appearance, which is attractive in our cold climate. Anything to create the illusion of the tropics is most welcome.
Zone 5 Brantford,ON
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Postby murphy » Apr 01, 2008 8:10 am

Durgan..you don't have a problem with frost killing the seeds. I thought seeing as this is a tropical plant you would have to be careful not to let frost get the seeds.
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Postby Durgan » Apr 01, 2008 9:37 am

Murphy wrote:Durgan..you don't have a problem with frost killing the seeds. I thought seeing as this is a tropical plant you would have to be careful not to let frost get the seeds.


I have seen no evidence that the seeds get damage due to shed storage. Those seeds have little or no moisture in them. They use to be used a lot for costume jewellery, since thye hava a very attractive design. Apparently a few kids chewed on them, but I have never seen any story to support this.
Zone 5 Brantford,ON
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Caster Beans again.

Postby sweetnuts » Apr 02, 2008 12:43 pm

I just reread your msg. Pattyand your offer to mail me some.Thanks for that, what I have done is popped some in the freezer for 8 hrs. and some longer , soaked them o/n and now have 6 in wet paper towels in zip lock bag on top of my dvd receiver, 6 more in soil, also in zip lock bag on heated pad. I am trying it all. The 15 or more I planted Feb. 9th have all been destroyed, I took each seed out carefully, squeezed them and they popped, showing a bit of white "stuff". These plants are really changelling me.I did order seeds from Vesey's and planted them immediately and they are all coming up and showing first sign of a leaf...Will keep this site posted if any success on the last year's saved seeds....
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Postby Sharon Bryson » Apr 02, 2008 5:47 pm

popped some in the freezer for 8 hrs. and some longer

I am wondering why you would do this?
Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


http://sharon-willowgardenmusings.blogspot.com/
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Postby Eeyore » Apr 02, 2008 6:44 pm

It seems to me that most beans don't like cold at all...

I found this link. Looks pretty straight forwrd to me.


http://www.ehow.com/how_14010_grow-castor-bean.html
Lyn
AB, Zone 3A
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Postby murphy » Apr 03, 2008 8:26 am

some plants require a freeze to germinate...I would doubt Castor beans are one of them as they are tropical and where they grow indigenously they would not have frost. They require soaking as they germinate naturally during the raining season where they are native....they have a very thick leathery outer shell to protect the seed during the harsh dry season where they lay on the ground waiting for the rains to come. You can gently nick this coating on the outside with a knife to allow the bean to absorb more water and increase you chances of germination...don't cut so deap that you risk damaging the germ of the seed...just enough to kind of scuff the surface off so you can see some of the white inside. The key to germinating any seed is to mimic its natural conditions as much as possible.
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Postby Sharon Bryson » Apr 03, 2008 9:21 am

some plants require a freeze to germinate...

Freezing isn't the cue to aid germination....especially a dry freeze. The cold treatment many seeds need works because of moisture coupled with cold, but typically not freezing, although many things could eperience a natural freezing outdoors. Dumping them in our freezers indoors isn't quite the same thing.



can gently nick this coating on the outside with a knife to allow the bean to absorb more water

Another, more risk-free way to make seed coat more water absorbant is to gently rub the seeds between sandpaper. This way you don't need to worry about too much "nicking".
Cheers
Sharon
Antigonish, NS Zone 5b

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its' roots in earth and manure."
- D.H. Lawrence


http://sharon-willowgardenmusings.blogspot.com/
http://www.willowgarden.net/
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