Growing dry beans and shellies intensively

VermontCathy Posts: 1,815 ✭✭✭✭✭

I am interested in increasing the amount of shellies or dry beans that I am growing. I've had great success growing green string beans, but I have produced very few dry beans per square foot in my small raised beds.

I realize that unlike green string beans, which produce continuously through the summer months, I can only get one crop of dry beans per year. Even so, surely things can be done to improve.

Has anyone developed techniques to grow large quantities of dry beans (or shell beans) in small spaces?

I would be very interested to hear from anyone on TGN who has successfully grown dry beans in quantity in a small urban or suburban garden (not on acreage or in a large row garden).

Dry beans and shell beans have so much potential, but the amount of finished dry or shell beans I get each year is only a few handfuls per 4 ft x 4 ft raised bed. That isn't enough.


  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,355 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy have you gone through the Bio-intensive Gardening class in the Academy? I started using some of the techniques this past year and they have increased my yields on each plant that I have tried with them.

    I have not specifically done beans yet. That is on my list for this coming season. My family has been eating large quantities of black beans and pinto beans this year so I hope to grow quite a bit also. I will be interested to hear any advice others have also.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,815 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Michelle D Thanks for the pointer. I will check out that class.

  • monica197
    monica197 Posts: 332 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy have you seen Melissa K Norris' video she did with her dad on green bean preservation done a "Leather Breeches"?

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 678 ✭✭✭✭

    I grew soup beans for the first time this year and it was definitely different from growing green beans. I’m trying it again this year. I live in a hot and humid area, so last summer I left the beans in the ground too long and lots of them molded. I just didn’t know when to pull the plants! This year I will grow them again and maybe pull the plants before they mold, after the beans are at least mature. Surely they’ll still dry? Well, I’ll know this summer. These were all bush beans.

    Two years ago I grew Cherokee beans which I bought from Baker Creek. These were pole beans which I trellised in a small space and they blew my mind they were so productive.

    All of which is a long way to say that maybe you can grow more if you trellis the pole variety OR try the bush variety and succession plant. Sorry to be so long-winded!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,815 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Heat should not be a problem. Beans love heat. It's the humidity that's a problem. If it rains a lot, that's worse.

    I always lose some beans to mold, usually when I water them too much. They really don't need very much water. But I get plenty of beans despite losing some to mold.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,127 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the information. I'll have to check that out again in bio-intensive course again. So nice to be able to go back and check things out again.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,355 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Megan Venturella I remember watching a YouTube video earlier this year that was done by Melissa K. Norris. She addressed when to harvest beans if there are wet or humid conditions and the best way to dry them after. I don't remember exactly what she said or the name of the video. If I can find it I will post a link later.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,815 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Megan Venturella I may give those Cherokee beans a try.

    I can't plant succession crops of dry beans or shellies here in zone 4. The season is barely long enough to get one crop in.