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Dry bean varieties/sources

 
Posts: 22
Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
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Hello all,

This is a pretty basic question even though I'm not quite a beginning gardener. But not sure where else would be better to post it.

Any recommendations on dry bean varieties? I'm in Iowa. I tried dry beans for the first time last year. I grew both black and pinto which are probably what I'm interested in again.

I didn't do too much research on specific varieties last year -- just got whatever I could find available with the seed shortage. I ended up purchasing both black and pinto bean seeds from Reimer Seeds.

The black beans grew and yielded well but I wasn't overly impressed with their taste. The pinto beans scrambled around -- it appeared they wanted to vine even though they were sold as bush.

Any recommendations on sources for dry bean seed? I'm thinking that I prefer bush although am open to arguments about why pole would be better.
 
Posts: 139
Location: South Georgia, 8b
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 I think you should go to the supermarket and find out what beans have the flavors you like.  I like lima and great northern etc...
Next I would maybe talk to a few local farmers and see what grows well in your climate.  We have very hot humid conditions here so I cannot give any advice on that.
I get my seed from Hoss tools but they are local to my area, you should have a few local seed companies near you. A local farmer should help on that too.
A lot of bush beans tend to have that vining trait, it often shows up for me too.
I grow both bush and pole beans. Bush beans put out a little faster and about 2 harvest is what I get. Pole beans give a lot more over a longer season but should be trellised.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1716
Location: RRV of da Nort
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A favorite source:  https://www.vermontbean.com/

We are a bit similar in climate, though farther north outside of Fargo, ND.  Pintos are so plentiful we tend not to grow them....North Dakota is the #1 state in the nation in dry bean production and pintos are pretty high on that list.  Pretty much narrowed it down to Cranberry Beans for home production ( https://www.vermontbean.com/category/s?keyword=Cranberry )....for texture, flavor, and productivity, they do well for us and we like them better than pintos.  Perhaps it's due to home selection over many years, but our cranberry's now are more red with white variegation rather than white with red variegation.  I suspect there is a study out there somewhere on the difference between pole beans and bush beans with respect to white mold.  If you don't have white mold in your snap/dry beans now, it may end up creeping into your production in the future and it's an irritation to deal with.  Pole beans *may* be better in this respect as white mold is favored by warm, humid weather, made worse by excessive damp periods during heat.  (Have not checked recently to see if bean seed has started being sold with a white mold resistance rating.)

See https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/fieldcroppathology/soybean_pests_diseases/white_mold/
 
Posts: 11
Location: Shingletown, CA
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I am a huge fan of Carol Deppe's Beefy Resilient Bean Grex which has a meaty rich flavor and makes a great substitute for black beans. The mix contains small black, brown, golden, and sometimes white seeds. It is a bush type bean and is available from Resilient Seed.
Dry Bush Bean- Beefy Resilient

If you like red beans I had great success with Hidatsa Red from https://www.prairieroadorganic.co/collections/beans-peas
They also carry Nodak Pinto. "Incredibly early and productive, this bean is easy to grow. Nodak has a vine type growth habit and is resistant to bean rusts present in North Dakota."

I have two other suggestions for bean sources
1. Cheapest option: Buy a bag of each bean your interested in from your grocery store and plant those out.
2. More expense: Buy varieties from specialty bean sellers such as Ranch Gordo  https://www.ranchogordo.com/collections/heirloom-beans or
   North Bay Trading Co.   https://www.northbaytrading.com/beans-lentils/beans/  
   Both of these companies sell beans in 1 pound or greater packages for eating. You can try several varieties of non-commodity grown beans. Cook some up and see which you prefer.
 
Brian Rumsey
Posts: 22
Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
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Thanks to each of you who have replied so far. Some good ideas to follow up on!
 
pollinator
Posts: 611
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
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One of my favourite dry beans came from a package of what was supposed to be Kentucky wonder wax. The bean pods were really tough with big strings and different shades of yellow and green. Not what I would expect of kww. The seeds were all different shades of black, grey, brown, yellow, and cooked down into a tasty broth. So good dry beans can come from anywhere.

My favourite black bean is black coco.

I really like nez perce. Early, high yielding, tasty.

Papa de rola is one of the prettiest beans I've grown.
 
steward
Posts: 5551
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I highly recommend Lofthouse Dry Bush Bean, which can be purchased from Experimental Farm Network.

An inexpensive way to get a lot of bean seed, is to plant 15 bean soup mix that the grocery stores sell.

bean-mosaic.jpg
Lofthouse Dry Bush Bean
Lofthouse Dry Bush Bean
 
Brian Rumsey
Posts: 22
Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
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I am appreciating the continued replies. John -- yes, you are right about how common pintos are. At this point I am growing more for the fulfillment i derive from growing my own beans, rather than trying to produce varieties that are not available easily for retail purchase. (Though I could easily go down the path of more uncommon varieties -- especially if taste is discovered to be better!) I am especially cooking a lot of Mexican dishes which has led me to the pintos and black beans.
 
John Weiland
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Denise S.   Thanks for the reminder about Prairie Road Organics.  Had not seen their packets locally in the past two years....glad to see they are still in business.

Joseph..... Can't recall if you have a logo for your operation?..... You should either take it upon your creative self or commission a local artist to produce a logo that you could display at your market stands....a logo made with those many beans!  What a beautiful display those would make.
 
Denise Spencer
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I highly recommend Lofthouse Dry Bush Bean, which can be purchased from Experimental Farm Network.

An inexpensive way to get a lot of bean seed, is to plant 15 bean soup mix that the grocery stores sell.



What a beautiful photo of those glorious beans!

Thanks for letting us know where the Lofthouse Bean is being sold. I purchased it from you several years ago and still plant it out every year.

Also, I thought I had read that you used beans from the soup mix in your landrace, but I couldn't find the info to quote you. 😀

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Three of the beans in the above photo may have arrived in a bag of 15 bean soup. A fourth bean came from a bag of beans from the Mexican food store.

About 40% of the beans in that photo may be unique to my garden. Descendants of naturally occurring hybrids.

logo_640.png
Logo, such as it is...
Logo, such as it is...
 
pollinator
Posts: 216
Location: SE Indiana
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I'm not a fan of bush beans, they just don't do well in my climate. I am working on a landrace of "semi-runner" beans. That is they do climb but only to five feet or so rather than the giant vines of more common pole beans.

Great thing about a nice landrace is you never know what might show up. I have two, actually maybe more than two in my landrace of semi-runners that I'm sure came from the Lofthouse landrace. I say maybe more than two, because I think one of them may have segregated but I don't keep good enough track to know for sure.  

That kind of flat looking white one, top middle in Joseph's photo may be the one that segregated, they are different colors and almost look like Lima beans to me but definitely are not. Interestingly the solid white kind of culled it's self out for the most part after a few seasons.

That purplish speckle one top right in the photo, or one that looks like it, is one of my favorite beans, gets about three or four feet tall and makes lots of early beans. Then it grows up  side shoots from towards the bottom of the stem and makes a bunch more beans. It's very similar in growth habit to a very old heirloom called Refugee. Another of my favorites, again with a similar growth habit is a Pinto bean from a store bought soup mix. All of these and their offspring as well as lots of others are becoming somewhat dominate in mine as I favor the short climbing growth habit and short season maturity.

If you want an idea of what is available in the bean department take a look here, Bean Collector Window.


 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I really like the semi-runner beans. I lump them in with the bush beans. They are more productive for me than bush beans, but a bit longer season, which makes harvest problematic some years. I think that there are 4 types of vines in common beans. I only select against the super-long vines that twist tightly around things (that's the type that I call pole beans). The floppy vines that just lay on top of things are really nice! I grow beans sprawling on the ground.
 
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I love growing beans, but don't like the taste of most dry beans. Beefy Resilient Grex is an exception. The flavor is 100% unadulterated umami. When used in a savory dish, it really does taste like beef. When used in a sweet dish, the flavor is a little harder to describe. It falls somewhere between "whey" and "almond milk", but the result is a rich, hearty undertone that doesn't clash with the topnote flavors.
 
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Denise Spencer wrote:
2. More expense: Buy varieties from specialty bean sellers such as Ranch Gordo  https://www.ranchogordo.com/collections/heirloom-beans or


I just got my package of Ranch Gordo beans and oh my goodness they are BEAUTIFUL!  I'm going to try and germinate some.  If they are fresh enough to germinate (which I'm guessing they are) then, while they are expensive for eating beans, they will be very inexpensive as planting seed.  I tell you, I'm super excited by the package.  Thank you so much Denise for turning me on to them.
 
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