Cluster Bean/ Guar Bean

macmexAugust 18, 2012

Chandra shared some cluster bean seed and I planted a short row of them around the first week of June. Last night I picked a few and fixed them according to the recipe he posted here, on this forum. They are good! I'm impressed, as this plant prospered, with just some watering, right through our most brutal heat. Now that I know their growth habit and that they taste good, I'm going to let the rest go to seed. Next summer I'll plan on a large planting of these. An estimated days to picking, here, is about 77 days. I believe that I can have mature seed in another two to three weeks. So, this is a match for our climate and conditions!

The beans look like a strange cross between Okra pods and snap beans. In the attached picture you can see some pods on the plant. What I needed to know, and now do, is that I can plant this one fairly close together, in a wide row. Not only does it produce a very palatable product, but it would probably be useful as a cover crop, much like cowpeas. Only cluster beans don't spread out at all. They grow mainly up.

George

Tahlequah, OK

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia on Guar

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elkwc(6b)

George,
Chandra sent me seeds also. I only planted a short row late trying to see how they would do here and like you to determine growing habit and needed spacing. Likewise mine have done very well right through the heat. Them and the Fowler bush beans are the only beans to thrive during the heat. Mine are just setting small pods now. I plan on saving seeds also. So hopefully I'll have some to share if anyone desires. My last planting of the Wood's Moutain Crazy Bean is doing a lot better. At least those that the grasshoppers didn't feast on. The early ones have struggled greatly. And both plantings have grown slower than the Fowler beans. I'm impressed with them. Jay

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 9:37AM
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biradarcm(7b)

George and Jay,
I am glad to know they are growing well in your conditions as well. They are our favorite beans. I started harvesting from mid July, DTM for me is about 60days. They keep producing until first frost kills them. They are very tender, light frost will kill them. Its legume and good for soil amendment. I tried few spacing options, wider spacing will leads to some laterals if you snip off the tip after it reaches 2ft tall and high density planting also give the same yield. I tried equal spacing in all directions at 4, 8 and 12". But I guess your approach of prefer fairly close together, in a wide row sounds good option too. By the way, I noticed that gross hopper are not attaching them! -Chandra

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 2:39PM
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canokie

This may be a dumb question, but is this the bean that guar gum is made from? The reason I ask is I have celiac and can't eat anything with gluten(wheat) in it, and guar gum is used in a lot of gluten free baking. (It is also horribly expensive!)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:35PM
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elkwc(6b)

Canokie,
From what I've read it is. Jay

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:06PM
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canokie

Apparently this humble little bean is quite valuable. I never knew it was also used in fracking and the resulting shortage is driving up prices:

At $10 $15 a lb. for guar gum in the store, I may have to try growing some next year. I wonder how hard it would be to grind up the beans?

Here is a link that might be useful: Haliburton's margins lower due to shortage of guar gum

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:05PM
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shankins123(7aOKC)

This sounds like something tailor-made for our climate!
I may have to see where I can find seeds for next year...thanks for the information :~)

Sharon

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:22PM
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elkwc(6b)

Sharon I plan on mainly saving all the beans for seeds this year. So if nothing drastic happens I should have some seeds this fall. Jay

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

The only place I can think of that has guar bean seeds is Evergreen Seeds. I'll link them, just in case Jay has a weather-related disaster.....and I'm just saying that because for all of us, weather-related disasters are just so common any more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Evergreen Seeds-Guar Bean Seed

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:42AM
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biradarcm(7b)

Canokie,

Yes gaur gum is an extract of the cluster bean (also called guar bean), usually used for gluten free food but never thought about fracturing.

Sharon, I have seeds for sharing, let me know if you need them. I guess you need to wait until next summer, it may be too late to plant.

If you grow enough guar beans for seed harvest, then you can make guar gum at home, I linked one such method below. I need to ask my mom about traditional approach.

-Chandra

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Make a Guar Gum

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 2:05PM
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soonergrandmom

I would think I was on a starvation diet if I had to go gluten-free, and celiacs have my sympathy.

I have noticed over the last few years that more and more doctors are diagnosing patients with 'gluten sensitivity' although they don't have celiac. It seems to have become a popular diagnosis. I would have real trouble since I tend to think the major food groups are fruit, nuts and grains, and wheat is my favorite grain.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 3:14PM
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shankins123(7aOKC)

Jay and Chandra...thank you for the offer of seeds/beans!

It should be interesting to grow them - I looked at a TX Ag site that said they grow from 6-46 inches...??? How big a plant are you guys growing?

All this time I thought "guar gum" was a synthetic food additive...LOL.

Sharon

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 3:55PM
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biradarcm(7b)

Sharon,
They may be underestimating, it grows even higher under very favorable conditions. Last last year few of our cluster plants were about 70-75in. I guess they were competing with Burgundy okra growing next to them. In general I see them grow about 45-50in.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 5:12PM
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macmex

Yesterday I drove past a motel, near my work, which is operated by a family from India. They have a beautiful garden on the property, and, I noticed CLUSTER BEANS! Theirs are about 4' tall at this time.

I'm quite excited about growing these, in quantity, in the future. Just hope they mature a good deal of seed this year.

George

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:52AM
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elkwc(6b)

Chandra my DTM on the first beans was 56 days. I will be leaving most for seed. They are one crop that has never blinked this summer. Jay

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:25PM
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macmex

I'm still waiting for dry seed. But this plant has kept growing and making more pods. It has been unfazed by our heat and ignored by both rabbits and grasshoppers. As long as we can produce seed in this climate, I'd say we have "discovered" a new and wonderful vegetable for Oklahoma and the South!

George

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:40AM
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biradarcm(7b)

Jay,
Thanks for update on DTM, I guess weather pattern may also play role in DTM. It would be interesting to see if higher latitude may shorten the DTM? I never tried to save seeds from the plant grown in our garden as I have enough seeds in stock. It would be interesting to see how next progeny will perform from the plants grown here to their parental conditions (southern India). In case of coriander/cilantro, I have observed that offspring seems to doing much better than its parents, they seems to be naturalized in just one generation.

George,
That is true, our cluster beans keep producing despite of moisture deficiency and scorching heat.

Here are two photos taken yesterday;
Cluster of beans!

they are already reached over 5ft and still counting

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:10AM
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teach_math

Wow those are amazing. I may have to eventually try to get my hands on those things. I wish my DW would eat more beans. I can't begin to get her to fix them much less eat them. Any beans cooked in this house are cooked by me.
How much are they producing per plant? It looks like a good deal from the photos, but kinda hard to tell.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 7:09PM
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macmex

Well, a couple weeks ago, I pulled my cluster beans (now dead) and put the dry pods in a bowl. Yesterday I processed them. It was disappointing that my seed harvest was lower than that which I originally planted. Hopefully, in 2013, I can get them in earlier, and this will make a difference in seed production.

Toward the end of the summer we had a rabbit or two which discovered the joys of cluster beans. It would nip them at the ground level, apparently looking for moisture.

Last night I followed the link to Evergreen Seeds, planning to order some more seed. But after I threw in a packet of Malabar Spinach, I still didn't meet their minimum order requirement.

George

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 5:11AM
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alobo

Is there any chance of getting a few guar bean seeds or does any one know of a source in Canada selling the seeds? I love these and my dad grew enough for the whole neighbourhood in India

e mail me alobo@hotmail.com

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:38PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

So excited to read this thread. I ordered quite a bit of seed from Evergreen. Since Daughter lives in Asia (with SIL and grandsons), I have been exposed to many Asian veggies. In the summer, I go to the BA Farmer's Mkt where lots of Hmong farmers sell their veggies. I love Asian stir-fried vegetables! So good for a body. This is a great seed site. And Daughter is gluten intolerant, so will plant some guar beans.

Thanks!

Sandy

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:47AM
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OrangeChoc

Wondering and hoping maybe someone has some guwar/cluster bean seeds they can share.
Having a hard time finding them.

I have seeds I can swap with too.
Please let me know. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 2:19PM
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macmex

OrangeChoc,

I wish I had some to share. I didn't get them planted this year, and my supply is so low that I'll probably purchase some this winter. Here's a link to the company which I know sells the seed.

George

Here is a link that might be useful: Evergreen Seeds

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 3:31PM
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