Bean varieties for drying : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Quick question to those experienced gardeners out there -- I'd like to grow some dry bean varieties this year. Any suggestions for this Zone 2B area? Also, I understand that to dry them properly, you just leave them on the plant, but doesn't this end up with the plant not producing much? How much yield should I expect from suggested varieties?

-- Tracy (, May 12, 2000


Try Jacob's Cattle Beans -- they produce well in Maine. Yield will depend on a lot of different factors, but if you pick them green, you won't have mature dry beans, you'll have shell beans, which are good but a different product. They can be canned or frozen. For dry beans, the pods do have to be allowed to mature on the plant, and you are probably right about it reducing the yield somewhat, but it is the only way to get them. In your climate, once the beans are mature, you will want to pull the whole plant and hang them upside down someplace dry to finish drying. Essentially you are raising a seed crop, and eating part of it. Be sure to save for seed the beans that mature earliest, by the way.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, May 13, 2000.

Tracy, actual dry beans haven't been selected for re-cropping ability. You pretty much plant them in the spring and harvest them in the fall. Reduced production shows up more with beans that have been selected for pod-eating qualities, your usual "greenbean" crops. What we do with our greenbeans is to eat them fresh when production first starts, can and freeze greenbeans when production is high, then start leaving them on the plants to get "seedy". We'll pick and shell some of them for shelly beans, the rest stay on the plants to mature and dry. Kathleen is right, you'll probably have to pull the plants and hang them somewhere to finish drying. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, May 13, 2000.

For all purpose beans, I like the black valentines, they make a great green bean, and when you are tired of canning, you can just let the rest of them dry on the plant for great soup beans. If things start to get too wet before they are done drying, they can be hung up in the barn to finish drying, with a tarp spread underneath to catch escapees. For dry beans, I also grow Dwarf Horticultural and Swedish Brown. A few companies that have good varieties are The Vermont Bean Seed Company and Pinetree Garden Seed Just about any bean will dry well, but you will get better production if you pick a variety that is bred for drying. Bush beans tend to be easier to harvest.

-- Connie (, May 15, 2000.

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