Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bean Seeds Dilemma

Last weekend felt like spring, but this weekend actually feels like winter.  I wanted to do some work in the potting shed, but I haven't mustered up the motivation to go out in the cold.  Instead I'm at looking up seeds, which is dangerous.  I have problems with self control when it comes to seeds.  They are relatively cheap and they are magical- a packet of seeds can have me dreaming about where they will go, anticipation of their germination, joy of watching them grow, curiosity of their flowering and fruiting, dreams of harvesting, eating, and thoughts of new recipes I can try-  all this from a little seed packet!

I already went through and inventoried my seeds and made a list of what I needed.  The list wasn't too long: broccoli, cauliflower, pickling cucumber, parsnips, leeks, onions, summer and winter squash, peanuts, eggplant, parsley, bell peppers, and tomatoes.  I already ordered all these seeds (most from Heirloom Seeds) and they have arrived, but seed catalogs also keep arriving.  Why do there have to be so many choices?  I love the ideal of heirlooms, but I get overwhelmed with all the choices!

After drooling over more seed catalogs and circling the varieties I want to try (not this year!), I decided to map out my spring garden and see how much I have room for and how many seeds I can squeeze in.  The results of my mapping reveal that I probably need to order more bush beans. Yes, more seeds!!  In the past I have mostly picked beans as snap beans, but I want to try more dried beans.  Black beans and kidney beans are the ones I buy the most for cooking and eating, so I should grow them.  Of course in looking for beans I have now picked nine varieties that look fabulous:  Appaloosa, Calypso Red, Cannellini, Dabble Grey, Hidatsa Red, Koronis Purple, Lina Sisco's Bird Egg, Tiger's Eye, and Black Turtle.

Tiger's Eye

Dabble Grey
Lina Sisco's Bird Egg

Red Calypso
Koronis Pur


Black Turtle
Hidatsa Red

Now my goal is to narrow this list down to about three varieties.  I should go with the Black Turtle since I use black beans a lot.  The Appaloosa are described as being similar to kidney beans, so they should make the cut.  I don't think I can turn down the Tiger's Eye because of their color and they are good for making refried beans, so that would be different from the other two.  That's already three, huh?  Ok just one more.  I dropped the Hidatsa Red because they can have 3' vines and I want more compact bush beans.  Cannellini would probably be the most useful and versatile, but Lina Sisco's Bird Egg beans are sooo pretty!  Decisions, decisions!

Anyone have a dried bean variety that you absolutely love? 


  1. I'm growing Tongues of Fire this year which is similar to a Borlotti bean and looks a lot like those Birds Egg ones and I have been happy with them - in fact they provided me with a lovely lunch this week so I'm very pleased indeed! So pleased in fact that I sowed another 6 plants today.

  2. I have the same dilemma like you about seeds :-). Aren't they the most fascinating tiny things? Yes, there are way too many varieties. Are the heirloom seeds good? Are there any noticeable difference between them and the non-heirloom ones?

  3. KL... the main difference between heirloom and non-heirloom (hybrid) is that you can save seeds from heirloom veggies. I've never attempted seed saving because you have to keep varieties separated so you don't get cross pollination. I just like heirlooms because of the variety and uniqueness of a lot of them. They are not the veggies you find in the supermarket and most of them have a history.