In the spring I started a dried bean experiment, remember all the types I planted? The results are in. All my beans have been harvested, removed from their pods, dried and weighed – now my pantry has mason jars full of new bean types to try.
To start I had a couple of disasters. In my home garden, I planted Lady Pea Cow Peas, Blue Speckled Tepary Bean and Mayacoba/Limon Beans in a spot I thought would provide great light and heat. It turned out to be a bad spot, summer sun was shaded by a neighbour’s old plum tree and the soil held no water (the soil basically turned into something resembling compacted concrete). All three of these beans germinated and I got a few plants, both the cow peas and tepary beans produced some flowers. In the end, all I got was a handful of tepary beans – just enough to try growing them again next year.
My blue jay beans are bit of an odd one out here. They are a heritage variety grown for their pods (a green bean). I scored a few seeds from a friend and planted out a single row. We ate some as green beans (they were awesome), I meant to make pickles out of the rest and didn’t so I ended up with dried beans to harvest – enough I could cook them up if I wanted. I’ll save them as seeds, give some away and donate some to the local seed library.
I expected my Snow Cap Beans to fail after the deer ate all the leaves of the vines, but I was wrong. There were enough beans for me to eat some and save seeds.
Next up are the Black Jet Soy Beans, Winnifred’s Garbanzo and Red Lentils. Only about five soy plants grew, which gave me a surprising amount of beans – but only a minority turned out black. I’ll eat what I grew, but I don’t think I’ll bother growing them again next year. The garbanzo’s produced lots of pods, but the harvest really wasn’t worth the effort. I missed harvesting the lentils at the right time, most pods split and dumped their contents on the ground. The lentils are so small, I’m not going to bother with them next year either.
I planted Trail of Tears Beans on my old compost pile which resulted in vines reaching past the tops of their supports and mixing with my blackberry. The plants produced pods prolifically – but it threatened to rain right as they were drying down so I harvested everything at once and brought them inside to dry. I probably should have waited as many pods weren’t close enough to dry inside. Still got a reasonable harvest with enough for several meals.
In a pot on the deck I grew Scarlet Runner Beans just for the flowers. I’ve since learned they are great for eating as a dried bean, so I’ll aim to grow more out next year.
Ireland Creek Annie Beans were my best producer – more than 2 kg from a single package of seeds. I haven’t cooked any up yet.
I got slightly less Tiger Eye Beans than the Ireland Creek Annie ones, but these are my favorite. Originally, I got a handful of seeds from the library and now I have tones to eat, seeds for next year and plenty to give back to the library. I made fantastic re-fried beans out of these, plus they are so pretty.
So here are the final tallies:
- Scarlet Runner Beans – 125 g
- Black Jet Soy Beans – 275 g
- Snow Cap Beans – 750 g (from 75 beans)
- Trail of Tears Beans – 750 g (from 65 beans)
- Blue Jay Beans – 300 g (from 15 beans)
- Tiger Eye Beans – 1800 g
- Ireland Creek Annie Beans – 2175 g
This gives me a total of 6175 g or 18,525 calories that is easy to store.