Monday, March 24, 2014

The Bean Experiment Continues





I am simmering my last quart of saved for consumption beans today. As many of you may remember the fate of my five year long Small-Hold Bean breeding experiment was in serious doubt last year. Due to the drought of 2012 and the demands of my then employer for overtime the fate of my bean experiment looked glum. Basically the beans I had planted in 2012 burned up and I managed to harvest very little from what I planted with no time to save what I could because of all the overtime. Last year I was down to maybe a small handful of beans left to plant with. Had the crop failed in 2013 I would have had to start over.

Luckily last year was a good year and I had enough time to actually harvest and save the beans for both consumption and replanting this year.

A little back history. I started this experiment five years ago using a bean variety that was advertised as being a dragon tongue pole bean. I am not sure what was actually in the packages I bought but for the most part they were not a pole bean. What I got were three distinct varieties some with the tan/purple veined hulls as advertised, some with just a  simple green hull and a few plants that were in fact a pole bean with green hulls. Inside the beans all looked the same basically a light kidney bean with dark veins and the taste of the pole bean variety was very good.

I decided to just forget about what they were suppose to be and see what I could make them into so I saved some of the pole variety to replant the next year. From 2009 to 2011 they continued to grow and got progressively larger and thicker producing. Last year was a bumper crop to be honest and each year I select out the beans from the strongest and best producing vines for replanting. I believe I have now bred a variety of beans that are pretty much tailor made for my particular soil and weather conditions.

Another trait I have been looking for was the ability to simply let the beans dry on the vine and then simply de-hull them into glass canning jars for use all Winter long. I have several jars put back and I used to dry them before putting them away either in the oven or in my solar box. This last year however I just let them dry completely on the vine then hulled them and put them up and it worked beautifully. My reasoning on this was that most of the beans would be consumed over the Winter so storage for more than a few months was not needed and the beans left over would still be viable for planting if an emergency arose. It also allowed me to harvest many dried pods but then sit around inside after the sun went down to remove the beans from the pods. This way if I had planted a huge crop we could be sitting around hulling beans during the Winter months if it came down to it.

This year I am happy to say I have a huge supply of beans set back for planting. More than enough to last through two years of drought if it came down to it so the bean experiment continues.

Not only that I had several quarts of dried beans left over for consumption this Winter. I am really beginning to like the smell the simmering beans make through the entire house as well.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!




9 comments:

  1. I don't know if I ever told you, but your one of my favorite bloggers. Your posts are full of information, and do tend to make me stop and think more then some of the other bloggers.

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    1. Rob - Thank you sir!!! There are a number out there who would disagree with you lol. I like my moto : it's better to be hated than ignored :)

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  2. Do you every have a mold issue when they dry on the vine? Black spots, etc? I'm not sure if it's due to the humidity here or not. Any thoughts?

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    1. Izzy - I have sometimes seen mold on the outside of the pods. Or maybe it's just them turning a bit black but for the most part no mold and never on the beans.

      Of course July and August around here are pretty dry.

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  3. That is so friggin awesome. I learn so darn much from you. Did you make the trellis in the picture? If so that is a neat idea
    .And i dont think I have seen that before.

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    1. JuGM - All that is is two pieces of panels they use to reinforce concrete. Someone gave me like 8 of em a few years back so I tied them together at the tops and then made the wooden supports to bow them out. They work great and my favorite part I can drive right under them on my garden tractor and sit there and pick bean pods :)

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  4. My mind must be gone, I was going to tell you what bean I use earlier this afternoon but could not remember the name of it. Finally I found it on line, it is the McCaslan and it is used as a green bean and then dried on the vine. It is a south eastern heirloom but if you want any to mix in with your crop let me know. From what I have read, most beans self pollinate but insects can also pollinate them so it is a mixture which tells me that they tend to stay fairly true but you can get some wild ones show up. They say more snow here by morning.

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  5. Thanks for the encouragement Preppy. I have done varieties of beans just as you have described (without the quantity though): let them grow, dry, and harvest. I have never had any issues. Your trellises are sweet.

    Now that we have a home of our own and more sun exposure, I think I am going to trying along the very back of the garden and trellis them - maybe PVC pipe (Cheap, light, and easy to store).

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  6. Good for you PP! That is exactly how you get varieties of plants that fit your personal climate.

    I plan on doing the same after our impending move.

    A lot of people turn their noses up at beans, but we love them at our house, and we eat them a minimum of twice a week and it's not unusual to have them 3 or 4 times. Different kinds and different ways of preparing them of course. Chili beans are the favorite though!

    Miss Violet

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