• Dried beans are versatile and nutritious.Marlin Bates/MU Extension
    Dried beans are versatile and nutritious.Marlin Bates/MU Extension

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo.–Green beans are a staple in many vegetable gardens. A University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist suggests making room for other types of beans as well.

“For gardeners who are looking to try something new, consider planting a few rows of dry beans,” said Marlin Bates. In addition to green beans, the legume family offers a wide range of edible seeds: black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans and black-eyed peas, among others.

“Most of these can be produced in much the same way that green beans are grown,” Bates said. “However, they are harvested much later than green beans, which are picked from the living plant while immature.”

Harvest dried beans when the pods begin to dry by pulling the entire plant out of the ground. Lay the plants out in the garden until they are dried. “At that point, pods can be removed and the beans should be removed from the pods,” he said. Then dry the beans for a few more days before storing in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.

“Dry beans offer many of the same benefits that green beans present, with a few exceptions,” Bates said. “First, because they are dry, yields of dried beans are significantly lower than fresh beans.” Gardeners should expect to yield about 20-25 pounds of dry beans per 100 feet of planted row.

Because there is no real benefit to continually harvesting dry beans throughout the summer, the entire crop is typically planted at one time. “This allows all beans to be prepared for storage at once,” he said.

Beans are high in fiber and protein and rich in nutrients. As members of the legume family, beans boost soil nitrogen.

Seeds for these plants are available wherever vegetable seed is sold.