Beans have been an important crop here in the American continent for millennia. Originally a tropical plant domesticated in Central America, the common bean proved adaptable to more temperate climates, and as it spread North found a welcome place in the gardens of indigenous farmers throughout Eastern North America. One of the Three Sisters.
We grow a lot of beans here at the farm, they have long been one of my favourite crops to grow and to save seed from. It was the mesmerizing diversity of dry beans that got me hooked on seed saving as a kid, so I’m really happy to be able to offer such a wide variety of beans today!
Growing beans: Beans are warm weather plants, best direct sown after the risk of frost has passed. I usually seed mine starting late May, however I’ve gotten away with sowing as late as mid-July. They love full sun, and although they will produce more in good soil, being legumes they fix nitrogen and can tolerate less fertile soil than other crops can.
Bush varieties are short and self-supporting, while pole varieties will require some sturdy support. Wooden or bamboo canes tied at the top into tipis work well, but here at the farm I mostly use mesh netting attached to fence posts. Planting beans alongside tall plants like corn, sunflowers or amaranth works extremely well, they’ll serve as living poles. Even though pole beans are more work, they pay off with much higher yields compared to bush beans… growing vertically is the way to go for small gardens!
-Check out our Growing Guide for more growing and seed saving info.