A garden experiment

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We devoted an entire bed in our 12-bed garden to a brash experiment this year. Black beans! We eat ‘em constantly, so we thought it would be really cool to grow and dry our own. We ordered the seeds and planted them before a farmer friend told us we’d likely have no luck with them in this climate. They’re supposed to be dried on the vine, and with the amount of moisture we experience in Virginia, conditions are far from ideal.

But they grew beautifully, and as easily as the green beans we’re more accustomed to. They made tons of pods which did, as advertised, contain black beans. The plants went through their life cycle and began to die. A couple of days ago, we decided to harvest about half of them and see if we could dry them in our dehydrator.

We pulled the plants off and stripped off the pods without much trouble. Then Mr. Green Scene started removing the beans from the pods. He cheerfully kept at it for at least an hour, shucking about half of what we’d picked.

At that point we had about a cup and a half of black beans.

It’s a little comical. This would cost about a buck from the bulk bins. We joked that someone should really invent a way to shuck the beans mechanically–think of all the time it would save for those poor bean farmers!

We will persist with this year’s experiment–hope to get them shucked and into the dehydrator within a day or two–but I’m not sure if we’ll grow this particular crop again. The climate isn’t the problem as much as the labor. Anyone have a clever way to shuck dry beans that doesn’t involve buying a machine?

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