Dried Beans - ultra labor intensive?

It seems to me that dried beans (kidney, cow, turtle and the like) are super labor intensive. I mean, waiting for the pod to dry, the picking the shells and finally reaping the beans. It seems like it would take an hour for a simple pound of beans.
Is there a simpler way - other than spending the $1.15/lb it costs at the health food store for organic beans?
And couldn't the space be used for something more productive, anyway? Does anyone have insight/thoughts on this?
Thanks, Chris
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Chris said:

Shelling dry beans isn't hard. Once the pods are fully dry they tend to open easily and the beans fall right out. (Let them finish drying indoors -- once the heating season start and indoor humidity drops, they are very easy to shell out.)
*Fresh* shell beans (a culinary delight) are a lot more work. But you get something that is virtually unobtainable in most markets. These are picked when the bean is nearly mature but the pods are still green or just barely turning yellow. They cook quickly and the texture can be wonderfully creamy...
The problem with growing dry beans is not the work, but the amount of space you need to grow more than a sample. You need a substantial planting to get more than a pound or two.

Depends on what you like, and what is available to you locally to buy vs, what actually grows well in your garden. For instance, I gave up growing carrots once I was able to buy good quality organic carrots year round. (Too much struggle for me against nematodes and voles.) I grow sweet corn, even though it's a space hog, because I like my sweetcorn tender and 'corny' (which the ever more popular super-sweet varieties aren't).
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Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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On 22 Jan 2004 16:36:31 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@taconic.net (Chris) wrote:

I grew some beans for dried beans (pintos? turtle beans?) once a long time ago in a very small way. When I got 'em all cleaned and ready for storage, I noticed there were zillions of teeny holes in the beans -- some kind of worm? Total loss.
I also grew onions one year (from sets) that took a lot of weeding and water, and also returned little. I'm about to head out to a local grocery store that has 5lb of onions for $2.50.
I really prefer to grow things that are either unusual or rarely available in stores (purple okra and Oriental veg), hideously expensive (multi-colored peppers, many herbs), or clearly superior to boughten stuff (tomatoes!).
Given the return on one bean seed, dried beans might be worthwhile (it doesn't take a *lot* of labor to shake them out of the shells), particularly if you insist on organic and can keep the bean weevils(?) away. Or if you want to have more exotic varieties than are available commercially.
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Grow pole beans to get more production in a small space, making sure to orient them so they won't shade the rest of the garden, or so they will shade something in late afternoon that needs some extra protection.. It takes acres and acres of beans that take up an entire growing season to produce those beans you buy, and if they're organically grown, the yields are probably not as great. So, unless you have a fair amount of space to dedicate to them, you will have to just appreciate what you can get I guess. You can get a whole lot more green beans with some of those WONDERFUL Shellie beans you can mix in with them from the beans you've missed or let go a little longer. You can get double duty from them anyway, in that you can pick some green beans for awhile, and then let the rest mature and harvest those at whatever stages you enjoy most, the shellies, or flageolet <sp> beans meant to be picked and eaten in the "green shellie" stage, or let them go to the fully mature and dry stage.. they're "done" when the pods are brittle. Many of the shell beans can be had in pole form, cranberry, wren's egg, are the only 2 I can recall from 10 or so years back that I planted and were pole. Vermont Bean Seed catalog was where I got those, but I don't know if they're still in operation. I looked and they are, and are associated with Jung seed company. Unfortunately their reviews on Garden watchdog was bad for last year, so they may had a problem last year.

That really sucks when stuff like that happens, but that's why I don't grow peas, other than snow peas because they are picked before the seed starts forming and the weevils haven't gotten to them. Once the peas form you can go out and inspect the pods and you'll see holes shot through them where the adult has drilled through to lay eggs.

I likewise don't try to grow onions very often because unless I go out and cover the row early and keep it covered all season with floating row cover, there will be some small flies that lay eggs and there will be maggots in the roots of the onions, .. likewise turnips, and radishes. Growing turnips in spring would definitely need row covers, I guess fall grown ones aren't bothered as much..
I grew some pretty nice onions one year, and the key was getting them in early, using sets no larger than a dime or from transplants from seed I started earlier... only to find those maggots in many of them!

I agree, grow what you can grow without too many problems. If you can't grow it without pesticides, then don't try to grow it if you can't find an acceptable solution.
I can grow carrots without any problems, or did 10 years ago. Could be the problem pests could have been imported into the area since then, but I can't grow the onions turnips and radishes, so I put some egyptian onions out there, and I am thinking of potato onions as a possible solution for early and then I may try another method of planting late seed, so it will grow to set size and then over winter them and see if they are as prone to pests. <shrug> worst that could happen is they won't make it or I'll have to cover them with remay.
Good luck to y'all!!
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Janice wrote:

Some things are just too much trouble for me to bother with. Beans are like that for me, never even got to the stage where weevils would eat them. Something else ate the plants long before that.
As for onions, I grow potato onions, AKA yellow multiplier onions. As they are heavily mulched when planted, no weeding is needed and they are completely pest free. Multiplier onions are small, no hamburger slicers, and they make me tear up worst then any other onions when I peel them, but they taste good and they are great keepers, often lasting a full year in storage. I got mine from Territorial Seed.
Lorenzo L. Love http://home.thegrid.net/~lllove
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”     Cicero
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snipped-for-privacy@taconic.net (Chris) wrote in message

We only go to a Upick farm for peas once a year, the whole family. We usually pick a bushel an hour, or two bushels total. Then it takes forever to shell them, yes, but the kids like it and is something you can do while watching TV. Frozen in plastic bags, they are still very good one year later.

There are many veggies that produce more edible stuff per square foot, and it is something of interest to most of us. Beans would be near the bottom of my list. For productivity, I like garlic (which can be interplanted), tomatoes, lettuce, and a variety of greens, including chard, radicchio and arugula. Zucchini can be too productive, if you know what I mean.
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