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New Paris, OH

Beans are one of my favorite seeds to save. They are the easiest of the vegetables to grow out for seed as they are self pollinators and need very little isolation (about 10'). Grow them like you would any bean but do not pick until the pods are brown and dry. Clean the m and store in a cool dry place. the seeds should be viable for 5 to 10 years or more. Always grow more than you will need to plant as you can make soup out of the extra. fresh dried beans are sooo much better than store bought.

We usually grow out black turtle beans, anasazi beans, tiger eye beans and calypso beans.

Any other bean growers or wannabees?

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Me, me, me!

I'm growing six varieities this year: Calypso, New Mexico Cave, Rio Zape, Dragon's Tongue, Snowcap, and Potato Patch.

I'm just a newbie when it comes to bean collecting, though. I have 20 odd varieties in my collection. Many of them came from my friend Sharon Vadas, who has 87 in hers.

There are about 6,000 known common beans. So I've got a ways to go.

Me Me Me too!! :)

Adzuki, Calypso Pole, Cowpea, Whippoorill, Jacob's Cattle, Trail of Tears, and Vermont Cranberry Pole Beans

I've never grown any of these before, they were all received from friends (including Brook, Melody, and Big_Red).

I also have some seeds of those "yard long" beans, but I think I'll probably pass on those, at least this year.


New Paris, OH

Lets see, if I include the green beans (and why not!) We save provider, roma and maxibel along with the dried bean types. Oh year we also have raised cranberry beans (tongue of fire) and christmas limas.

They are such pretty seeds to save.

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Dave, I was confining this to common beans. You have two cowpeas in your list (cowpea---whatever that means, varietywise, and Whippoorwill).

In addition to the common beans, this year I'm growing two new cowpeas (Rouge et Noir and Betty's Field Pea), plus Hopi Yellow limas. Grits tracked down the Rouge et Noir, and shared them with me; and Horseshoe sent me the Betty's Field Peas.

Whatever would we do without DG friends?

If I had more room, there would be more varieites. I love growing beans.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Cowpea and Bean list...

Whippoorwills and Blue Goose cowpeas

New Mexico Cave Beans,Cherokee Trail of Tears,Hopi Yellow Limas,Breglia's Romano,Sonoran Gold Tepary Bean,Berner Landfrauen Swiss Pole.

That ought to keep me busy.I have plenty of Christmas Limas in the freezer for this season,so I not be doing them.

Sorry, Brook. I thought anything in the Leguminosae family was fair game for this thread.

In that case let me revise my earlier statement: I'm growing Calypso Pole, Jacob's Cattle, and Vermont Cranberry Pole Beans.


Bethelridge, KY(Zone 6a)

Vermont Cranberry Pole Beans (my favorite shell bean), Kentucky Wonder Pole, Provider, and this year I'm trying Christmas Limas although I don't know how they'll do this far north.

Oops, forgot! Also White Dutch Runner.

This message was edited Sunday, Apr 1st 5:00 PM

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Yep, for sure, I learnt in a very short time...just say the word 'bean' and Brook comes out of the woodwork! Wonderful! Have tried some of the above including the cowpeas (and, of course, Betty's field peas, be they "beans" or not)...them potato patch beans sure sound interesting Brook. Ohiorganic, don't forget the tried and true Romano pole bean, nice and meaty and holds up well for canning and freezing if you prefer to keep them as 'green beans'. Am also a fan of Calico (some folks tend to refer to them as Christmas beans, some as 'speckled butter beans)...and for heirloomish appeal surely you must appreciate the Lazy Wife Pole bean. Ah yes, here I sit with my late supper (as usual) eating a bowl of chili...beans, corn, okra, tomatoes, onions, more beans, garlic, cumin, more beans, ... (you see, I like several kinds of beans in my chili!)

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Sorry, Dave. It's not my thread. I just interpretted it differently is all.

Horseshoe: The Potato Patch are an interesting variety. The ones I have (this will be my first year growing them) are a family heirloom from some people in North Carolina (ha!). The names comes from the method of growing them. Apparently, after digging early potatoes, there would already be this patch of tilled ground. So they'd put in a crop of these beans.

It is, apparently, a very old variety that was fairly common in the mid-19th century.

I'll file a report on them as they grow. And, of course, will have trading quantities come fall.

This message was edited Sunday, Apr 1st 10:03 AM

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

ohiorganic, reading about your black turtle beans makes me want to grow some for black bean soup which I have a killer recipe for. I've never grown them though. What do I need to know to grow them successfully? How many feet of beans should be planted to have enough crop to save the seed? Thanks!


This message was edited Sunday, Apr 1st 10:52 AM

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Brook, you're sho'nuff getting some goodies from the great state of NC, eh? I reckon it must've been a primal thing for me when one yr I was tractorless and had my neighbor come down and middle-bust my taters up out of the ground. He did such a good job and left the ground in wonderful shape that the next day I sowed October beans where the taters once grew. Just seemed to me like the thing to do! Big_Red, are your Christmas limas pole or bush? I would imagine the bush variety should have time to mature in your area. Pete2, don't forget the orange slices in that black bean brings it to perfection!

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Oranges slices??? Heck, I thought it was the sherry that perfected it? ROFL!!! Nothing like getting a buzz off of soup! LOL

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Alright, Petikins, enough with the small talk. Let's have the recipe!

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Horseshoe: Great minds think alike, I guess.

I wonder, too, if this approach isn't tied in with the post-famine waves of Irish immigrants? The timing seems to be right. I have no references to this kind of succession planting until about 1850.

New Paris, OH

Pete2/Terri/Petikins (man you are getting a bunch of aliases from this site!)

I plant 800 feet of black beans but 20 feet should be enough to get you seed stock and than if you want them fpor market of soup you will have to plant several hundred feet of beans. I believe we got about 100lbs from 800 feet. But I don't really lknow as I didn't weight the beans this year. I do know we have sold around 50 pounds and seem to have another 50 pounds (I am making a black bean soup today and so looked at what we had).

These are an easy bean to grow but they are on the small side but usually yeild well. We have had no disease problems and they are drought tolerant. i believe our seed has been grown here for the past 6 years so it is very acclimated to our environment.

Santa Barbara, CA


It's been awhile but I recall reading T. Jefferson's farm journal and his admonishion to follow root crops with beans. Are you into researching ag history? Hort history?

I wish I was in a better bean climate --very cool and foggy later Spring and summers. So I test and save varieties that seem to do better here. I haven't grown out for seed saving very many legumes in a few years. My favorites: Garafal Oro (romano) and Blue Lake pole beans, Roc D'or bush wax bean, Burpee's Best Lima pole (original strain). These I grow out for the farm. This year I am doing a grow out of varieties just for saving. A list later.

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Actually, Marsh, my interest in heirlooms and related topics sprang from my interest in historical foods; especially the colonial period. I started out looking to grow a colonial kitchen garden using the actual varieties which would have been available. Like topsey, it just growed.

Next thing you know, I'm writing about it. So the ag history and hort. history aspects just are a natural compliment to that study. But I wouldn't say they are a passion by any means.

A lot of Jefferson's techniques were strictly pragmatic. He saw what worked, and continued doing it. But he was part of a group of landed gentry in Va/NC/Pennsylvania that exchanged scientific & horticultural info (as well as seeds and plants) as well. All of them recognized that root crops are heavy feeders, and that legumes (not necessarily beans) returned nutrients to the soil. Beans, being a hot weather crop, were a natural follow-up planting.

A lot of his interest in peas stemmed from the fact he used them as rotation crops.

I've read Jefferson's Garden Book several times, but not recently.

Bethelridge, KY(Zone 6a)


My Christmas limas are pole beans, haven't seen the bush type in seed catalogs and didn't realize there was a bush variety. Think a pole variety will have time enough to mature (about 110 days)?


I looove black bean soup even though I'm a northerner. You've GOT to post your recipe!

This message was edited Sunday, Apr 1st 5:08 PM

New Paris, OH

Here's one of my black bean Soup recipes (It's what's for dinner)

2 cups black beans
2cups chicken stock
1qt water (to start)
2 onions, coarse chopped
garlic coarse chopped (I like a lot you may like a little but at least 3 cloves)
2 stalks of celery,cut into 1" pieces
2 big carrots, cut into 1" pieces
1 juice orange-squeeze in to pot and than toss the rind into soup
1 lemon-same as orange
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup pureed squash (a winter type)
1/2 cup jalapeno sauce I made or 1 or 2 hot peppers (or none at all if you don't like it hot)
1 tbl cumin
1tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Bring beans to a boil in 1 qt of water and remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour. Pour off bean water and in a big soup pot add together stock, beans, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, salt and water and cook for several hours. Add water as needed. After a while cut the citrus fruits in half and squeeze them into the soup and than toss in rinds. Also add cumin, coiriander and pepper. Let cook some more and than add the corn and squash. Cook another hour or so, remove the rinds and serve topped with sour cream or yogurt and freshly chopped parsley or chives.

If you are vegetarian just substitue water &/or OJ for the chicken stock

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Big_Red...I'd give them a try if it were me. In one of my catalogs it shows the maturity time for Christmas pole limas as 80 days (there you go! That saved you 20 to 30 days of season right there! ;>)

Don't know how many you are planning to grow but believe it or not several yrs back I started bush beans in flats...and they handled transplanting very well. Just wonder if it would be a consideration for you to try.

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Will Weaver says he starts beans inside all the time, thus gaining several weeks on the growing season. It's important, though, to be careful when transplanting that you do not disturb the roots at all.

Seems to me this would be a good use for those newspaper pots. Starting them in the paper pots you have up to three weeks of growth before the paper starts disintergrating. You could do your beans that way, then plant the entire thing, without ever touching the root ball at all.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

I received a handful of something labeled "marrow fat beans" in a group seed swap a year or so ago. Very small white bean. They are a bush bean. I grew them out last summer and they were great. All germinated and produced pods with 5-7 beans each. There were two plants that seemed to vine and they produced beans that were tan in color, not white. The tan seemed to have nicer pods, no insect damage and were consistent in that they all had 7 beans per pod. I cannot find anything in the SSE catalog similar to these (white or tan) anyone familiar with them?

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Thanks, Lucy! :)

Okay, here's my recipe for Black Bean Soup but I must warn you that it's almost as addicting as Dave's Garden!!! LOL

But first, a history lesson! I'm sure this recipe is from the famous (and historical) Olde Pink House in Savannah, GA. If you've never eaten there, you really must. It has wonderful food and ambiance. The black bean soup recipe in the Pink House's cookbook omits some ingredients but I got them. Hey, I have my methods! LOL James Habersham, Jr., successful rice planter and a leading figure in the young Savannah colony built his residence in 1771 on Reynolds Square. Today, it is known as The Olde Pink House.

Black Turtle Bean Soup

List #1
1 pound black beans
2 tablespoons olive oil (first cold pressing)
1 medium ripe tomato (halved)
1 bay leaf
1/2 large onion
1/2 large green pepper
1 garlic clove, unpeeled and crushed

List #2
1/2 cup olive oil (first cold pressing)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed (dry) oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cooking sherry (or to taste)

Wash beans and discard imperfect ones. Place in a deep bowl and cover with water 2 inches above beans. Soak overnight.

Next day, pour beans into a large kettle with the same soaking water. If necessary, add more water so that the beans will be covered 1 inch above. Add to the beans all of List #1. (Do not cut up these ingredients. Leave them as the large piece/pieces described) Bring to a boil and then lower heat to moderate. Cover and cook until beans are tender (not mushy or too done because you will be cooking them more later on), about 1 hour. Use only a wooden spoon for stirring. Remove the bay leaf and what is left of the onion, tomato, pepper, and garlic and throw them away.

In a skillet, heat (from List #2) 1/2 cup olive oil and saute together the chopped onion, green pepper, garlic, oregano, cumin, wine vinegar, and salt until onion and pepper are transparent. Add this mixture to the black beans. Stir in the Tabasco sauce and cook for 30 minutes or until done. Correct seasonings and add sherry. Serve hot with cooked long grain white rice and raw chopped onions. Optional lemon or orange slices for a garnish.


Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

I'm having black bean soup and spinach salad for dinner tonight. BTW, when you start talking about saving spinach seeds, I'll post a recipe for the best spinach salad you'll ever put in your mouth. It's a wilted spinach salad with hot bacon dressing. It will make you want to "slap yo momma" a nice way of course. LOL


Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)


Sounds like either an unwanted cross, or, more likely, a mixture of seeds.

Marrowfat beans are often known as "pea beans". They are originally a Native American bean, most likely Algonquian. There are more than 200 distinct varietal forms, but all of them are essentially white, bush types.

In England there is also a popular pea bean. But it is a pole variety, and usually bi-colored.

Sounds like you preferred the tan ones. If so, just rouge them out keep replanting until you get nothing but them.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

Thanks Brooke. More likely a cross, all the beans were definitely white. I planted each one by hand :-)

A brief search comes up with British info only, touting them to be more of a pea. They don't look or taste like peas. I'll do a more thorough search for native beans.

As a grower I definitely preferred the tan but I saved all of them for replanting and only ate white (saved some of those too), so I can't say which I preferred as a consumer. I guess this year I'll know.

Terri, I have eaten at the Olde Pink House in Savannah. Definitely good eats - I like all southern food! When I lived just outside Atlanta Savannah was my favorite place to vacation. We almost always stayed on Tybee Island. Great seafood place there (yeah, I know, WHICH ONE, lol) but I can't remember the name. Very informal and platters full of yummy stuff! Thanks for the Black Bean Soup recipe, I love the stuff. Looking forward to the wilted spinach recipe, I make that, too!

Bethelridge, KY(Zone 6a)

Horseshoe, I also have started beans inside and then transplanted them with good success. We have a worm(?) that will eat out the "heart" of the bean seed before it breaks the surface of the ground. Sometimes the bean will rot in the ground with the heart eaten out and sometimes they will actually grow out of the ground but with leaves eaten off. Some years I lost about half of my seed so I tryed starting a couple of flats inside and it works great, even if not recommended. Guess I'll try a few! Thanks.

Terri, I'll be sure to try your recipe and soon! Thanks!

This message was edited Monday, Apr 2nd 6:41 PM

Santa Barbara, CA

I have alreadystarted beans and snow peas in 72-cell trays and plan to set them out at second true leaf by which time the root balls ought to be stable. My soil temps drag out in the 50's well into April so I like to get most things prestarted including pregerminating sweet corn.

Being green (organic) isn't easy! At least in a subtropical climate without some good freezes to take some of the critters down.


Santa Barbara, CA


Thanks for the personal information about your work with colonial food and kitchens. I too am into heirloom seed and plants and horticultural and agricultural history. Pretty exciting times what with all there livestock disease scares and increasing crescendo of gmo resistance.


New Paris, OH

Sounds to me that soil blocks would be the way to go for transplanting beans. With soil blocks you generally get zero transplant shock because the roots are not disturbed.

Another thought is to put down IRT or black plastic and plant the beans into that than row cover . You can start them safely about 3 to 5 weeks earlier than normal. We do this tomatoes and it works, why not beans?

Bethelridge, KY(Zone 6a)

Terri, tried your recipe for black bean soup and you're right, absolutely delicious! Thanks again!

Ohiorganic, I'm going to try your recipe next. Also, soil blocks sound like a good idea, I'll try it.


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