A wonderful and often versatile crop, beans that produce edible seeds that dry right on the plant are both nutritious and easy to grow.
Many kinds can also be enjoyed as a snap or shelled bean, giving you a longer fresh supply of produce. Once they dry, they are easy to store in any food safe container.
Although dry beans can last for years, their shells get tougher over time. We recommend keeping them no more than two years, then replanting what you have on hand.
Dry beans can also be canned as soup or baked beans. This softens the shells, but you will find that homegrown will have more shell to them than what is found canned in the stores. We like them this way, but if you prefer yours softer, simply soak or cook them longer.
You can actually buy dry soup beans at the grocery store and plant those. We tried it and it worked! You can see the results in the video here.
You may also want to try a few varieties to see what you like the best and what does well in your area. Just be sure to save enough to replant.
In the table below B=Bush, P=Pole and HR= Half Runner, so you will know their growth habit. Also note that pole types produce less at a given time, but more over the long run. Bush beans are just the opposite.
DTM=Days to Maturity after they have germinated.
|Vermont Cranberry||B||Pinkish red||98 Days dry||Shell also|
|Black Turtle||B||95 Dry||Black||Snap bean|
|Red Kidney||B||Red||95 Dry|
|Snow Cap||HR||White and Brown||75 Days dry|
|Missouri Wonder||P||Brown||70 Days|
|Black Valentine||P||Black||53 Days fresh|
|Kenearly Yellow Eye||B||White with light Brown||90 Days|
|Rattlesnake||P||Brown mottled||65 fresh||Snap also|
|Maine Yellow Eye||B||Yellow with Brown||90 Days dry|
|Aztec Bean||P||Dark Purple with White||55 for Fresh||Snap|
|Bolita||HR||Pale Tan||55 Days Fresh but still early Dry|
|Cherokee Trail of Tears||P||95 Dry|
|Hopi Red||P||Red||55 Days Fresh||Still early Dry|
|Hopi Yellow||HR||Gold||55 Days Fresh||Snap|
Personally we like to have a few varieties on hand in different colors and flavors.
Much of this information and more can be found on many seed sellers’ websites and in catalogs. Look up a few to learn more. We recommend Mike at averagepersongardening.com, Baker Creek, Bohan Seeds, Johnny’s Select Seeds, Hudson Valley Seed Library, and Horizon Herbs. Choose your favorite!