Bean time. I’ve learned to pull them off the vine before the rain really starts. Those dry pods get moldy quick when they get wet.

You need a ton of space to grow beans for shelling. It’s basically impossible to grow enough to feed a family if attempting the myth of “urban homesteading”… the best I’ve ever done is an average of 1 lb. dry beans per half-whiskey barrel planter = about 4 sq.ft. In other words, to grow just 10 lbs. of dry beans you need a space of 20′ x 20′ / 400 sq. ft. For comparison, I grow an average of 10 lbs. of potatoes in the same 4 sq. ft. containers so a 20′ x 20′ space can produce 100 lbs. of spuds. (See: Peru, Ireland, Russia)


Every year I grow Hidatsa Shield and Good Mother Stallard.


Hidatsa Shield are the beans grown by the Hidatsa People, who lived in basically what’s now the corner of N.Dakota & Montana, around the Missouri River. They are credited with originating the “Three Sisters” method of growing (squash + corn + beans), and also for capturing and selling the Shoshone woman named Sacagawea into slavery, who was purchased by the French-Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau, as his second “wife”. He was smart to have a backup, because the first wife, Otter Woman, said hell no to his joining the Corps of Discovery journey and split.


Good Mother Stallard beans are something of a mystery, they were discovered through a seed exchange in 1981, and were believed to have been grown in the 1930’s. They were named by famed heirloom bean collector John Withbee for the lady he got them from, Carrie Belle Stallard of Wise County, Virginia.

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