The Q&A Archives: Planting Castor Beans

Question: I bought some castor bean seed recently. Unfortunately, I bought them bulk and there is no information on how or when to plant. Should these be started indoors in Iowa? How deep and how far apart should the seeds be planted?

Also, will it be possible for me to collect the beans at the end of the year and use them next year?

Answer: You can sow the seeds of Castor Bean, or Ricinus, outdoors when the air and soil temperatures have warmed, or start them indoors now. Castor Bean seeds will germinate readily when planted 1/4" deep in moistened seed starting mix and kept at temperatures of 70F - 75F degrees. Expect the seeds to germinate in 15-20 days. You can harvest the mature seed pods at the end of the season to save and plant again next year. Be sure the seeds are completely dry before storing, and place them in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place until it's time to plant next year.

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