Dry beans - when to pick

Ada, OK(Zone 7a)

I'm kind of new at growing vegetables. Please tell me about:

(1) snap/string/green beans - the ones you pick when they are still pretty thin
(2) shell(ey) beans - ?
(3) dry beans - ?

Please tell me when you're supposed to pick dry beans. If you're saving your seeds, and the seed pods are supposed to be brown and dried out when they're mature, how does that square with what I've read about picking the pods frequently if you want the plant to produce more pods?

Also, are shelley beans beans that are cooked green? How are these beans used in recipes? Thank you. I'm sorry for my ignorance.

Margo

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

If you're saving your seeds, and the seed pods are supposed to be brown and dried out when they're mature, how does that square with what I've read about picking the pods frequently if you want the plant to produce more pods?

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Basically yes. When you keep picking the immature (green) seeds of the plant it keeps trying to make more. If you let it go to seed, that is dry beans, then its mission in life is done. When you decide to let the bean plant mature seeds you are done picking green (or whatever) beans.

Saint Paul, MN

If you get a good prolific variety you won't have to worry about having plenty to eat while they are young and plenty to let dry on the bush for planting. Just keep picking them but leave a few on the plants, or grow a few plants just to let go as seed beans. Also, make successive plantings every couple of weeks and you'll have beans all season. Use an heirloom variety if you want to save your own seeds for planting. Most hybrid plants don't reproduce correctly past F1(first folial)

I'm no expert, but I think any bean can be eaten as a snap bean (immature pod like a typical green bean), a green shell bean (when the pod is a little more mature and the actual beans in the pod are larger but still green), or left on the plant to mature and dry, at which time they can be harvested to plant next year or stored as a dry bean for baked beans or soups. Different varieties are just better for a particular type, like a nice Blue Lake as a snap bean, a lima bean or a soy bean as a shelled bean, and a Yellow Eye or pinto bean as a dry bean.

This message was edited May 30, 2008 10:45 PM

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