So you want some black bean seeds? Thinking of planting black beans in your garden are you? I applaud you! Black beans are an excellent food, and an excellent crop.
One thing I wanted to point out though – black beans are seeds.
Maybe you think I’m being pedantic. I am kind of. But it’s also true. You can grow black beans… from dry black beans you buy in a shop.
Of course you have no control about what variety comes out! Will it be a bush (most black beans grow like this) or a vine (a few confounding black bean varieties are vines)? Will they be good beans for your particular garden, with its particular soil and climate? And most of all, will they be good beans? After all, a discerning gardener may feel the need to get something better than what you find in the shops… less commercial… an heirloom variety.
If I were to plant black bean seeds tomorrow I think I’d ignore all of these worries and just go for it. See what happens. It’s a gamble, but isn’t everything in life? At least you can imagine yourself in a tavern in the Wild West, staring down a giant bean and saying something cool like, “Draw you harlot – I know my odds and I’m good with them.”
To grow black bean seeds from shop bought dry black beans, just follow the procedure for any old black bean. Make sure any danger of frost has passed for this year. Then soak your black bean seeds overnight, then plant them directly in your garden – don’t transplant them, they don’t like it. Plant them one to two inches deep and about five inches apart. Remember that they like full sun, slightly acidic, well drained soil, and shouldn’t be planted in the same place in your garden two years in a row, due to the nitrogen fixing they do on the soil. Don’t feed your black bean seeds fertilizer, they don’t need more nitrogen than what they already produce. Give them 3 months, then harvest when the seed pods are yellow and dry, and the black beans are black, dry, and hard enough to break your teeth. If you need to, bring the seeds inside to dry fully (if it’s raining a lot or something like that).
As you can see, growing black bean seeds that you got from a food supermarket is rather exactly the same as growing black bean seeds you bought from a gardening centre.
If I haven’t discouraged you, though, I can talk a little about heirloom varieties of black bean seeds, some of which you might be interested in getting for your garden.
The “Cherokee Trail Of Tears” heirloom variety of black bean seeds has an interesting name; it is named after the infamous “Trail of Tears”, the death march from the Smoky mountains to Oklahoma which killed so many native Americans. The seed was passed onto an heirloom seed preservation foundation by a man whose Cherokee ancestors were survivors of this death march.
The black bean seed itself produces green six inch pods, which can be harvested a little faster than other varieties – at around 85 days. However, it is a plant with a pole growth habit, unlike most other varieties of black bean. This might mean a little extra work for you.
The “Black Valentine” variety is another one with a poetic name. This heirloom black bean seed can provide both dry black beans and tasty snap beans. They grow in bushes, not vines, and tolerate cooler climates.
“Midnight” black bean seeds take longer to grow, at a little over 100 days. However, the seller here recommended them as the “best” variety. Whatever that means. I haven’t tried them, so I can’t confirm.
I hope this article on black bean seeds has bean, I mean been valuable to you. If you decide to grow your own black beans from seed, good luck! They are a pretty easy plant to grow from seed, and the rewards are high, so go for it and don’t look back.