Short-season dry bean? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I am trying to find a variety of dried bean that will grow in a short season (I am in Maine). I noticed that black turtle beans, for example, need over 100 days and many years we don't have that many frost-free days anyway - and this year I'm not planting until early June b/c I'm in school. Any suggestions?

-- Alice (, March 03, 2002


These links Bean Trial,, and Oregon Trial, , lists several that might work for you. Also might look at Vermont Cranberry, JAGUAR BLACK BEAN and Appaloosa.

-- BC (, March 03, 2002.

Alice, Jacob's Cattle beans should do great in Maine. Look in Pinetree Garden Seeds, Johnny's, and Fedco seed catalogs for other dried bean varieties that would do well in Maine.

-- vicki in NW OH (, March 03, 2002.

When's your first average frost? If it's not 'til the end of August, you'll have 90 days if you get them planted right at the beginning of June. Here are some that the Vermont Bean Seed Company lists as being ready in 85 days: Garbanzo, Vermont Appaloosa, Brown Dutch, Black Turtle, Great Northern, Jacob's Cattle, Navy Pea, Red Mexican, Soldier, Steuben and Swedish Brown. Some of those are just beautiful, too, like the Vermont Appaloosa ~ gorgeous! Jacob's Cattle is another pretty one.

Keep in mind that the "days to harvest" on anything is relative to where the person counting the days grew them, how many cloudy days they had, if it was an unusually cool summer for them, etc. For instance, Jacob's Cattle beans are listed in Johnny's Catalog as 88 days, VBS above lists them as 85 and Pinetree lists them as 83 days. That's the better part of a week's difference in there. I've had things that mature weeks before the package stated. Of course I'm in Texas where we get a lot of sunshine, but you just may find that even for you some of them that say 85 days really do it in 75.

Also, out there somewhere is an heirloom Six Week bean that matures in (you got it) six weeks (42 days) ~ they may have another name along with the six week name. I'm not sure if it's a dry bean or a shell bean, but even if a shell bean, you CAN dry them ~ it just may take about 7 or 8 weeks instead. Partway down this site they mention Mrs. Neidigh's Six Week Bean (pre 1850), and say you can get them from the Landis Valley Museum in Pennsylvania (they give a link and contact info to them).

Good luck!

-- Wingnut (, March 03, 2002.

For short season varieties of many vegetables and flowers, check at They are a seed company in Prince edward Island that specializes in seeds for short seasons.

Totally off topic, but have any of you homeschoolers ever made necklaces using all the beautiful beans mentioned above? Soak the beans until soft, thread a needle with dental floss, and let the kids string 'em up. Can use to teach about the different beans, basic math, or even to demonstrate symetry (sp).

-- Bernie from Northern Ontario (, March 03, 2002.

Let's see we are a zone 3 here.I know how it is to have a short growing season. I have friends who grow beans all the time and I amy try some this year. Swedish Brown, Pinto, Cranberry, Navy, Great Northern, Soy, Cattle, the is one called Yellow Indian Woman or something like that. It seems to me there are a lot of 80-90 day beans. Maybe plant them in a fairly sheltered, sunny area if possible. I am sure there are more. Try toplant by end of may at least the longer season crops.


-- Susan in Minnesota (, March 03, 2002.

Beans need a warm soil temp to germinate, 60o or more. If your soil is colder, beans will not germinate. It is not how cold your winter gets, which is how the USDA zones are figured.

Your options include planting in a removable cold frame, under a plastic tunnel, or heating up the soil by mulching with black plastic. You may also warm the soil with cold frame heater pads or hot manure.

Once your beans do start to grow, remember never to touch or brush against the leaves when they are wet, as the leaves easily bruise and let in diseases.

-- seraphima (, March 03, 2002.

What about the heat? We always have 90 plus in the summer and usually a week of 100's. And the humidity stays around 10%. Is that too hot for dry beans?

-- Joyce (, March 04, 2002.

Alice, Michigan frequently has a short season, but I most years can grow all the dry beans. I am a "bean collector" and the only ones that I consistantly have NEVER been able to grow are Chick peas and Java?sp? beans, which really require a hot and dry growing season. The zone charts are only accurate to a point. Within each zone are many "micro zones" and here on my 40 acres we have a vast array of the "micro zones". Warm your soil well, I frequently use old storm windows, before planting and you should be able to grow most beans for drying. All they really have to do is come to full maturity before frost. You can pull them and hang them for drying if a heavy freeze is predicted and still be able to save seed for the next year.

-- diane (, March 04, 2002.

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