winter beans

December 12, 2012

last year when i said I was going to attempt to grow more beans this gardening season, many of you were interested in doing just the same. well i did grow more beans and i am happy to report that i ended up with two full quarts each of dried yin yangs, jacob’s cattle, and tiger’s eye (changed to tigress’ eye around my digz). that equals twelve meals for a family of two – not bad!

all of the beans were of the bush variety, which means there was no need to tie each plant to a trellis. why make more work i say? the seeds went directly into the ground the second week of june and didn’t need much except for a bit of watering during the first couple of weeks. one twelve foot row produced approximately one quart of dried beans.

yes, i know you just did the math, there are eight rows there. the two exotic looking rows in the middle are black garbanzos. they were, apparently, a little too exotic for my new england growing season. that experiment didn’t go so well. there was just one other caveat in my bean growing adventure; bean-lovin’ deer! the bed you see above was one of two – the deer devoured the other one in a bean eating frenzy one fateful july night. i woke up to a sea of trampled, beanless stems. ugh!

the best part of growing your own beans, other than of course, eating the most fresh, juiciest and plump-when-you-cook-’em beans you could possibly eat is that they are pretty stress free to harvest. i just let mine dry on the vine as they say, up until the middle of september. then i plucked off all of the dried pods and threw them, by type, into brown paper bags. they can sit around like this all snug in their fall-looking pods until whenever the mood strikes you. you can do a lot at one time, or just enough for a meal. you can drink wine while you do it (my fave way) and listen to good tunes. you can tell your significant other that if he wants dinner he better get his paws on those pods, you can even have a bean shucking party. there are plenty of ways to get dem’ beans shucked, and no hurry to do it either – you have all winter! (unless of course you want to write a blog post about it and you need to find out your total yield and take photos).

so next season, grows some beans for winter! i know i am.

Comments Closed

  • kaela says:

    Impressed! I, too, had the Great Deer-Bean Disaster a few years ago and I haven’t managed to try again. Yet. But I do have half a pint of beautiful borlotti beans that I bought fresh at the farmer’s market and dried at home; I like to open the kitchen cabinet and see them there.

    • tigress says:

      they are so pretty aren’t they? i have the same dilemma, i want to eat them but they look so great in the larder. i don’t want to eat them all quick! :)

      • Miss Cherry Jones says:

        Glad to know it’s not just me that likes the looks of all the glistening jars, full of love and labor. I feel so bad opening them sometimes, but I guess that’s the point! Gotta eat something in Winter…

  • val says:

    For me, it was the rabbits. They mowed down my red beans entirely and make a serious dent in my black eyed peas. I was blissfully forgetting that I will have to make a rabbit fence come spring…unless the fox I have seen twice has been effective. I can’t give up because not only are they easy to grow, they have gorgeous flowers!

    • tigress says:

      those pesky rabbits! i know what you mean about fencing, i am figuring how to cover those bean beds myself for next year. that is a plus on the flowers for sure!

  • seth says:

    in california black garbanzos (and favas) are a winter crop. perhaps in new england you’d plant them first thing in the spring rather than june? favas stop fruiting when temps hit 75 degrees, not sure about garbanzos.

    • tigress says:

      thank you seth. that is helpful. although, we usually have our last hard frost in may, so i will have to look into if it is ok to plant them prior to that. note: i did try a bit of favas one year and didn’t have luck with them either. so whatever is not working in these new england summers must be the same for both.

      • Jenn says:

        Beans aren’t difficult to start indoors, before your last frost. I start mine in vermiculite, making it easy to take from the flat and replant in the garden. You may find, like I did, that this will extend your growing season significantly.

  • kaela says:

    This article mentions that favas like cool & wet conditions; probably the opposite of what we think about for beans. Maybe that’s part of the problem?

  • kaela says:

    Dude: premature posting. Here’s the link:

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