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Dry Beans – 2011 Harvest Begins

08.28.11

Dry bean harvest has begun. This is my 3rd year at it, and it’s now one of the crops that gets me most excited. There are some seriously compelling reasons to grow this stuff.

First, there is no other substantial protein from the garden that can store as well and as easily. No solar dehydrator here – leave them out on a sheet pan, done. No special root cellar storage required – leave them in a jar in a pantry, done. I had a moment this April, when the root cellar produce was eaten or spoiled, the coldframe greens were just producing, and the last of my dried beans from the prior year stared me in the face. I realized at that moment how key a player dried beans could and should be in our diet. Produce from the garden, year-round, with ease. That’s rare.

Second biggy: crop rotation. Any time you can get a nitrogen fixing crop preceding a heavy feeding crop, it’s a win. So when I plant a big crop of dry beans, not only is it easily storable, it’s fantastic for whatever plant will follow it in that space. I needed legumes in my rotation, problem solved. Then there’s its dietary contribution – carb and protein that isn’t a potato. It’s a welcome addition to the diet, especially when there’s an abundance of it’s friend, pork. And the icing on the cake is that seed saving is a no brainer – no extra task required. Simply grab a few of last year’s from the bean jar, and plant them. All exceedingly genius. Hence my new love for dried beans. Once the full crop is in, I’ll post an update with which varieties performed best for me, as I have quite a few kinds going at the moment.

4 Responses

  1. This was one of my projects for next year (growing “up” in some of the sunnier gardens with beans) so I’d appreciate a list of what works well locally. I’ve grown a bunch of pole beans this year and have great vines but they are only flowering now (grrr).

  2. Kieran says:

    I am really looking forward to reading about your results! Thanks in advance for the information!

  3. Waiting for the results! With the boy thinking he’s a vegetarian (minus bacon, of course) we rely HEAVILY on beans in our household for protein for him, which in turn means all of us as I hate cooking three different meals for supper. II am definitely looking forward to an indepth post from you on the types!

  4. Judy Z says:

    It amazes me that we can grow these here. It isn’t something that was part of my mothers garden. Only green beans. How exciting!

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