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July 16, 2011

Planting black beans from the grocery store

This year I tried planting some black beans from the grocery store. Beans are usually planted in March and September and seed to harvest time is around two to three months. Spacing for the beans is three to four inches, and if you plant in a "square foot" method fashion, then there is no spacing for the rows. I planted approximately sixteen square feet of black beans just to try them out. They were not pre-soaked, I planted them dry. Depth of planting is about an inch. Here's these black beans two months after seeding:

Black beans from the grocery store, as probably any other commercially grown beans are bush beans and they do not need support, they vine on each other. They do send out vines outside of the boundaries of their bed, but that is easily fixed, just direct the vines back on to the other plants.

Black beans have some pretty purple flowers:

And they are loaded with bean pods. I have to admit that they are not as tasty as green bean varieties if you try to cook them as a grean bean, but I grew them for the purpose of dry hulling and having organic black beans.

Some pods are getting ready to be harvested:

These beans are very heat tolerant. Instead of planting them in a suggested time frame of February-April I planted them in mid-May. They tolerated heat and humidity pretty well. A robust bean, thumbs up!

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  1. I read somewhere bush beans can be perennial in Florida - have you heard this or think it could be true?

    Some places it says to stop watering and let the bush dry out to harvest the whole plant. What do you think?

  2. They could be perrenial because new beans will grow from the ones that dropped on the ground :)

    Certainly would be easier to harvest the whole plant, but these particular ones were not as "determinate" as I thought they would be, because they were from commercially grown beans. You will sacrifice some of the crop for the sake of efficiency of harvesting.

  3. I am soaking some from the store to plant right now - thanks for the tip. I guess next season I'll look for beans from a better source. Thanks for the info. Your blog is fascinating.

  4. You mentioned that they're not as tasty as green beans when cooked. Just curious, how many of the black bean pods did you cook? I heard someone tell me not to cook the black bean pod because it's poisonous in large quantities, but I thought that was only raw. Any idea?

  5. I have not used many of them as a green bean, I grew them for the dry bean. So, they might be poisonous, cannot say. I like black beans in chili, so that's where I used them mostly.

  6. I just planted some black beans from the grocery store at my place, what a great idea! I figure even if they don't make too many beans, the greens will be really good food for the rabbits.

  7. You mean bean leaves and stems? If so, yes! Animals will love and enjoy them. But if you want to eat "green bean" from a black bean bush, they are a bit tough and are not as tasty. These are the best for the dry bean variety. They will make quite a bit of beans. But look at, even if every bean that you plant only makes you five pods, that's 1:20 yield.

  8. We had pretty good luck with dry beans this year. I got about 1.5 lbs from a 5 x 7' bed of kebarika beans from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Tough plants. That amount of seed is enough for me to plant some serious rows in the spring.

  9. I was growing pod beans, but then after harvesting I decided it took too much work to shell all the beans. Is there an easy way to shell these beans? Thank you, Mary



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