The biggest issue with growing beans for protein is that you are having to give up a lot of space in the garden from seed planted till plant die off and or till you pull up the plants and can hang them to finish drying.
While its possible you might? live in a place that could give you a very short second crop after the beans are pulled, it also means that you must have that big of a hanging space and that is something we are going to talk about this year here on the farm.
It’s a area that I am lacking and its on my hit list this coming year, I need to create a better drying/hanging places that let the air in but still protects from critters. I have a good idea how I want this to happen. The question is if I can take that idea and turn it into a real thing, we will see.
Our average grow season is 158 days per the paperwork but my own tracking shows us at around 140 to 145, the shortest season beans I can find are 90 to 95 days the average are around 110 to 120 and there are a few that are in the 120 plus days.
That is a very long time to be giving up that space in the your gardens, its pretty much the whole season, with a very short window for that space to be used for a 30 to 45 day crop maybe?
Thank goodness you can climb them upward so you only need to lose a narrow strip of soil.
I would recommend splitting your fresh/canning/storage whole beans vs your dried beans.
Given the crazy weather we are having, I am moving over to bush beans in dense plantings for the fresh eating/storage beans. I want the beans to be planted just far enough that we can walk to pick but otherwise, close enough that they are providing their own shade for that summer heat/drought, but I am going to be using free form hilling on them to create mini-swells for when it does rain hard.
The dried beans are all climbers and they will be going up, up and up.. they are going to get cover crops down and round their roots with a crazy amount of compost/cover 🙂
Its only once you have grown dried beans that you realize just how much space and time they take for such little return. I love my beans but once I get them all done, I have a great respect for them because I know how much it took to get those pounds of home-grown beans.
However the price of beans is going up locally in the stores. Have the prices gone up in your area as well.. What used to be a 1.29 to a 1.99 bag of beans is now currently in my store 3.99 to 4.69.
Now I do understand that is still far under the cost of other kinds of protein per pound. However the effort is enough that you would never see me using my dried beans for critter food.
The Dried beans grown on our homestead are for people use only. This is area that we will be expanding this year. It may not do anything to make this more pretty 🙂 but I have decided if I have a spot of vertical growing available, I will do my best to get pea’s or beans into that space in 2019.
My growing season is on paper, 90 days and I can guarantee hard frosts throughout- so we cover if we expect a temp drop. I love my dry beans – so I devote a bed in my small greenhouse – it’s 12’ high at the back, and yes the beans grow right out the vent windows. I plant several different kinds (whatever strikes my fancy) and plant 6” apart. Pull them up in the fall to hang, because they’re in the greenhouse I can leave them until I have time to deal with them. The husks make awesome fire starter.
My bush beans are a favorite. I plant them in 4×8 beds, four inches apart – and yes the hold each other up well. Sometimes I scatter seed carrots in the same bed – this works well for me, the carrots grow down, the beans up, and I can get a huge bumper crop out of a small space. 😊
Well, that is some clever work going on in your green house for sure. I love that they are good fire starters that is something I had not thought off and I love it! Thanks I will give credit to you but that is going out on a blog at some point!
I have been successful in growing beans and peas in containers, even pole varieties. I don’t get a large harvest of beans to dry, but the fresh ones are good to eat and can for later use when I have excess. – Margy
That’s interesting information for sure, I should do a bit more container growing just to practise the idea of it given that most of my gardens are outside, or greenhouse, it would be a good idea to work that moveable pots idea more.
Dried beans here (in the Indian Himalayas) are a primary protein source- and quite expensive to buy. This means that every family grows enough to last the year. The way we do it is to send them up fruit trees..every winter, the land around fruit trees is tilled lightly and manured. Come summer, we poke three-four beans at the base of each tree and then forget about them. We don’t pull the beans up to dry, but harvest and dry the pods. It’s a pretty low-maintenance and low-space way of growing an important crop. Do try some variant of that- it works!
hi Chicu, thank you for sharing how you are doing it 🙂