dry breans

gardner63September 9, 2008

looking for a dry bean to plant....must be bush and of course must grow in my zone..tks al

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jimster(z7a MA)

Just about any of the dry beans you find in the supermarket, such as pintos, great Northerns, cranberries, etc., would serve the purpose. And the seed is cheap because you can use the grocery store beans. You can pretty much bet on their being bush beans because pole beans can't be mechanically harvested. But, when you can buy these for not much more than a dollar a pound, why bother growing them?

It's better to find a bean which serves a special purpose and is not readily available. One that I have grown which fits that description is Chevrier Vert, a small seeded, very pretty, pale green flageolet bean. Although I don't know why, it's traditional use is to accompany lamb in French cooking.

That is just one example. There must be hundreds. Maybe others will suggest other bush beans which are out of the ordinary enough to be worthwhile growing for dry beans.

Jim

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 7:44PM
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gardner63

jimster...tks didn't know pintos were bush and would grow in my zone...planting pintos would serve two purposes..1)as a cover crop 2)to fill a big glass jar with beans..tks al

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 9:05AM
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farmerdilla

If yoy like Pintos, you might want to try yhe Dwarf Horticultural, Taylor strain. Little more color than a pinto and much more flavor as a drybean in my opinion. They can also be used as snaps, although they are not as good as those cultivars developed for the purpose. A few grocery chains carry these as Horticultural, or Cranberry beans. They are popular as green shellie beans which are difficult to obtain in a grocery store. In the farmers markets they are usually sold as October beans. Agree with Jimster tho, no way you can grow them cheaper than grocery store prices. I would also suggest growing what you cannot buy cheap.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 10:49AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

That's pretty much it so far as dry bush beans go. But farmerdilla's suggestion of green shellies opens up numerous possibilities. Greeen shellies are seldom, if ever, found in grocery stores, so growing them is very worthwhile. For some, such as Horticultural (Cranberry) beans, you can use the grocery store dry beans as cheap seed, which is especially economicial if you need enough for groundcover. (I'm talking about the North here. In the South you can get many kinds of bean seed by the pound at feed and seed stores.) And you can harvest both green shellies and dry beans from the same planting.

The green shelly idea is good for soy beans (edamame) and cowpeas as well as horticultural beans. Cowpeas are excellent as groundcover, one of the best. You could use the grocery store blackeye peas, but they are not one of the preferred cowpeas for eating purposes. I don't have info about soy as groundcover. However, I don't know why they wouldn't be just fine.

One more thing about green shellies -- they're delicious.

Jim

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 12:19PM
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bobbic(7)

My only comment about soybeans is that soy is in so many things that are processed, things you'd never suspect of containing soy, so why not add something more exotic to your diet? And if it's just for groundcover, why not use something edible? :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 11:13PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

bobbic, I get what you are saying as it applies to margarine, printing ink, plastics and other such processed soy products. But edamame is a different story. It is a totally unprocessed bean, just boiled in water for five or ten minutes and seasoned to taste with salt. Nothing could be more natural. I like them as a healthy and tasty alternative to chips and dip while watching football.

Jim

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 11:44PM
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ppod(6 SE NY)

I'm also zone 6 NY, and -late- last fall, early winter, planted Austrian peas. They didn't do much till spring, then took off and became an entangled bushy "hedge" and set a huge number of pods, which contained about 4 small peas each. I let them mature, planning on harvesting them for seeds. One day, they were all gone. The chipmunks had taken them, one and all. Darn rats!

Anyway, my point is, that this time of year, you could start a green 'manure' of Austrian peas (or possibly a pea variety grown for culinary purposes????) for an edible ground cover. Peas need full sun. Overseed generously and fence against bunnies.

Sorry, I don't have good, inexpensive sources for large quantities of pea seed. Feed stores, perhaps..... Willhite is about the least expensive source I know of. (Re. the link: Southern peas are not what you want to plant in zone 6 NY this time of year....)

My experience with storebought dry peas (from Indian grocers) is that they don't germinate. Perhaps Goya Brand would germinate?? Haven't tried it....

Here is a link that might be useful: Willhite, Tx, peas

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 8:03PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"It's better to find a bean which serves a special purpose and is not readily available."

Bush habit limits things a bit, since most beans sold in stores are bush varieties. Nor could you grow runner beans for seed, since most of them are pole. Limas make good dry beans, and can be exceptionally high yielding... but I've never been happy with the performance of bush limas, compared to pole varieties. If you are willing to consider growing pole limas, I recommend them highly.

You could grow heirloom bush beans, but unless you have recipes to accent their unique characteristics, you might not be able to fully appreciate them. You might experiment with a lot of different varieties though... it could be fun. In any event, any home-grown bean, IMO, tastes better than store bought.

The more that I grow them, the more I am convinced that cowpeas are a really good choice for dry beans. The plants are relatively carefree, and form a dense ground cover. They need warm soil to germinate, but the elapsed time from flower to dry seed is much shorter than the time required for bush beans. The yield ranges from moderate to very heavy, depending upon variety. There are many flavors & textures, and only the "blackeye" varieties are sold nationwide... so if you want to grow something you can't buy, cowpeas could be the way to go.

Adzuki beans are another good coice... but the red beans sold in bulk as food generally require a long season. There are a few short-season varieties available through catalogs. Like their cousins the cowpeas, adzuki beans go from flower to dry seed very quickly. I grow two varieties, one (red seeded) which matures in 90 days, and an heirloom (buff seeded) which matures completely in 100 days. The yield can be very high, I usually get about one ounce of dry seed per plant, or 2-3 ounces per row foot.

One of the advantages of adzuki: if you like bean sprouts, you can grow an incredible amount from the seed you save.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 11:07PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"The more that I grow them, the more I am convinced that cowpeas are a really good choice for dry beans."

It's nice that we can keep on discovering new things about gardening, year after year. That's one of my best discoveries, for the reasons you cite.

Jim

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 12:26AM
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