how much to plant for dry beans?

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)March 7, 2011

When I say dry beans I'm referring to stuff you would dry, and wouldn't use fresh in cooking. Basically stuff like cannellini beans (white kidney beans), navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, edamame (young Japanese green soybeans), pigeon peas (not too familiar with it, just know it's a bean very commonly used in latino cuisine) and pinto are what come to mind.

I'd be growing the bush varieties of these beans. I'm not saying I'm going to do this this growing season, it's merely for future reference because I'd be interested in trying this later.

How many plants would you plant if you're going to dry them, and use them at a later date (shell them and then store the beans whole essentially).

I'd be the only one using the beans, but I use cannellini and black beans regularly.

Also this is going to be offtopic but here goes anyway.

There is a site that says for a family of 4, you should plant a 15 foot row of green beans. However I do container gardening, so this makes no sense. How many plants is the equivalent of a 15' row? I'm assuming this depends on what variety of green bean you're growing? (bush or pole).

I think you plant bush beans 3" apart and 15' converted to inches is 180".

Since I do container gardening I need to know how many plants is the equivalent of how many you'd grow in a 15 foot row, because you don't use row spacing with container gardening.

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rxkeith(z5 MI)

i just bought a hundred lbs of organic black beans from a local farmer today, and asked him how much space would be required to grow 50 lbs of black beans. he did some number crunching, and told me you would need 1220 ft of growing space. you can take it from there.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 10:27PM
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Thank you for the guideline and for taking time out of your schedule to reply to my thread. Unfortunately since I do container gardening, I need to know how many plants are equal to 1220 feet of growing space. Basically how many plants could you grow in 1220 feet of growing space. Also I don't need something as much as 50 lbs. of beans; probably half of that amount in weight would suffice.

Could the guideline you were given be used as a guideline for all beans that are going to be used dry?

As I stated before you don't use row spacing with container gardening only plant spacing. I thank you for the advice and recommendation given, but unfortunately when you say 'this is how much plant in feet' it makes absolutely no sense for container gardening; it's clear-as-mud.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 12:25PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

What are the dimensions of your containers? Someone should be able to tell you how many beans you can plant in each one. I planted a little bush bean 'Comtesse de Chambord' 4 beans to each 12 inch hanging basket last year and they did quite well. I think it will depend on which bean you are growing and whether they are a bush or a pole type as to how many you can get away with planting in each container.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 12:56PM
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IMHO the only way to get any reasonable quantities of dry beans using containers is to go vertical by planting pole-type dry bean varieties such as "Rattlesnake", "Hidatsa", "Good Mother Stallard", etc. or maybe half-runners such as "State", "Aztec" would work as well.

As rxkeith alluded to, one needs a lot of space to crop any appreciable amount of bush dry beans, even for home use. I feel that bush dry beans are something that does not "translate" well to the container gardening of the average household, unless one just wants a couple of meals here and there. If small amounts are good enough then I recommend the more prolific varieties like "Pinto", "Great Northern", etc.

I grow and harvest around 100 pounds of food-grade bush dry beans yearly for family and friends. In my opinion the amount of space needed for even twenty pounds of bush dry beans simply does not make container gardening a realistic option. A family of four could easily consume twenty pounds of dry beans in one winter.

I would be interested to know in the future what you do and how well it works out for you.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 7:00PM
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If you want some specifics, 25ft. rows of each of the following produced approximately:

Peregion : 3 lbs.
Pinto : 3.25 lbs.
Soldier : 2 lbs.
French Horticultural : 2.5 lbs.
Pale Red Kidney : 3 lbs.
Arikara Yellow : 2.5 lbs.
Calypso Black : 1.5 lbs.
Great Northern : 2.75 lbs.
Navy Pea : 1.5 lbs.
Small Red : 2.25 lbs.
Vermont Cranberry : 1.25 lbs.
Pink Floyd : 2 lbs.
Scarlet Beauty : 2.25 lbs.
Jacob's Cattle : 1.75 lbs.
Henderson Baby Lima : 2 lbs. (approx. half the crop did not mature before hard frost killed the plants)

I have a bunch more but they are all in the same yield range - I think one can get the point with the information provided.

I had a decent but average growing season last year. I was satisfied with the crop but I usually get somewhat better yields than this. I wing it with the plant spacing but shoot for around 4-5 inches in the row. Extrapolate what you will from the information provided.

Hope you find this helpful.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 7:43PM
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rxkeith(z5 MI)

if you are container growing, i would second the suggestion of going vertical with pole beans that are good for dry use to maximize yield. still, i don't know how you are going to get 20 lbs of dry seed. supports don't have to be fancy, just tall enough and sturdy enough to stay upright. pole bean seeds would be spaced 6 inches apart. i'm also interested in how you plan to proceed.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:36AM
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To me growing "dry Beans" in a container is a waste of time money space and effort. There is no conceivable way to get enough yield to make it worth doing. It would be much cheaper to just go to the store and buy a bag of beans. There are lots of things that can be grown in pots. One could even grow pole snap beans in pots but almost anything will have more value and yield than growing "dry beans" in pots.

Sorry but thats the way I see it.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:25AM
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I agree that growing dry beans in containers is very impractical. However I do not feel growing your own food, trying new varieties, or experimenting with types to be a waste of time or effort. Also, ideally one must compare the food value of what is produced in a container, not compare the amount of what is grown to what can be purchased. If the latter is used, I question if the time, money, space, or effort needed for growing any food plant in containers is justifiable.

Out of curiosity and as an experiment I will grow a container of bush beans to see how much is produced. I will photograph and post at end of harvest season. I will use what I consider to be the most prolific variety.

I often read posts where people say they would just rather go to the store and buy something than grow it themselves. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with going to the store and buying a bag of beans for a buck? Nothing, if you like feeding chemical herbicide residues to yourself or your family. See the link provided.

Over the years I have personally witnessed diesel fuel spilled on harvested soybeans, soybeans and corn blackened from diesel exhaust soot, corn mixed with animal waste from a spill, soybeans and corn mixed with road deicing chemicals from spills, corn mixed with rodent feces, corn mixed with dead rats, corn and soybeans laced with rodenticides. I can assure all readers that all of the corn and soybeans ended up in the food chain. Welcome to the world of industrial agriculture.

THAT is why growing as much of your own food as possible is not a waste of time, money, space, effort, etc. Ultimately, the only food you can trust is the food you grow yourself.

Here is a link that might be useful: Herbicide Residues on Dry Edible Beans

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 2:22PM
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Actually, I've often grown dry beans, though I can't grow enough for my family in my yard. We eat a lot of beans, and our hands down favorite is True Red Cranberry -- not available at the grocery store. You can special order it for boocoo bucks plus boocoo shipping. Or, I can grow it, and add it in with other beans in various recipes.

I've grown them in the ground in the past. This year I'm going to add a couple of BIG containers. I just want more. And my kids can see how things grow, where the food comes from. I'm not a farmer. I'm a gardener. Anything I can successfully grow here at home is better than from the supermarket.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:06PM
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