2023 Little Easy Bean Network - Beans Beyond The Colors Of A Rainbow

Bluejay

Garden Master
Joined
Jan 12, 2013
Messages
3,155
Reaction score
9,616
Points
333
Location
Woodstock, Illinois Zone 5
The Network package return of the day goes to @heirloomgal. The beans of course I knew by all your photos were going to look fantastically stunning. On the paperwork return inside the package. I don't know who did it but the expiration was circled. Does that mean that the inspection station is paying close attention to the expiration date of the Green/Yellow labels. Thank you heirloom gal for the wonderful work you do and thank you to all the growers for the great work they do to improve the seed that has been in this collection.
 

heirloomgal

Garden Addicted
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
3,544
Reaction score
11,405
Points
235
Location
Northern Ontario, Canada
So, now that that I've received the good news that the 2023 network beans arrived successfully it's time to share my bad news. I wasn't ready to share this disappointing news until today. The worst, worst, worst development for a bean enthusiast.

The last batch of photos I posted was November 24th. When I was looking through the pics to post the best ones to the network that evening, I noticed something odd in one of the pictures for one of the beans. Perfect round holes in a few of the seeds. I literally jumped out of my chair and flew to the jar. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd see this. I've been growing beans for 16 years and this was a first. I dumped the jar of beans and sure enough, there were 2 bugs, which I dispatched (it wasn't a network bean). I hadn't lidded the jars yet so I put the lid on it and into the freezer. I then went to the closet where the remaining jars of beans were (also without lids, close to 100) and looked through as many as I could to see if there were any signs of holes. I didn't see anything and proceeded to put lids on all the jars, and place them out in the dry room where it's below freezing. They've been there ever since. I took the jar that had the beans with holes out of the freezer last night, and when I can gather the courage, I'm going to go through it. I didn't open it yet of course.

So, I don't know what's happened. I did order a lot of new seeds in 2023 and many were from companies that are small outfits which I'm not familiar with. The quality was not always there for sure, but I'm hesitant to think I imported these because the only place there seemed to be a problem was that one jar. I even went and looked at the other packets these newly purchased beans were stored with and no sign of anything. It does seem like - perhaps - a bug arrived to the garden. But I really don't know anything for sure. I guess anything is possible though it bewilders me how I could have them here when our winters are so darn cold, -40 both C/F. I've never known anyone around here to have these, ever. Needless to say, while I was initially pretty devastated I'm trying to look on the positive - this could be an anomaly. And if it isn't, if it's something that needs to be monitored I'll just have to deal with it. Time in the freezer isn't so terrible an inconvenience. I guess...

:hit
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
15,751
Reaction score
23,313
Points
417
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
i'm glad you have appeared to have caught it before it got worse. now you have been warned and can be a bit more vigilant going forwards.

i have had some beans from other people arrive here with holes and bugs, but i've caught the problem before it got put out into the gardens.
i don't think i've ever harvested a bean with a hole in it from a weevil. i do see other damage from other bugs and mice, etc. but not the little hole types of damage.

i've also seen commercial beans (sold as food) which have been infested. :( i put them in a sealed bag and throw them at the bottom of the garbage bag so they do not have a chance to spread (i hope!).

always be careful and keep containers closed as soon as the beans are fully dried. i do keep beans out in box flats until i'm ready to put them away for the winter but so far i've not had any small problems become bigger ones.

i'm glad to live someplace cold enough that they do not seem to survive winters here.
 

Zeedman

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 10, 2016
Messages
3,882
Reaction score
11,865
Points
307
Location
East-central Wisconsin
So, I don't know what's happened. I did order a lot of new seeds in 2023 and many were from companies that are small outfits which I'm not familiar with.
Only twice have I had weevils - once from a swap, and once from a fairly large, well known heirloom seed company. Since I quarantine all new seeds in freezer bags, the bugs never escaped in either case. I informed the seed company; they sent me new seed - also infested. When I informed them of this, they destroyed the entire lot. I froze the seed I had, and successfully grew the undamaged seed (a cowpea) the following year.

All seed from the current year is still drying in trays, until the indoor humidity has dropped enough to dry them to the proper moisture level for sealed storage. Temps are still in the 30's-40's F here, so the indoor ambient humidity is not yet low enough. No sign yet of 'sweater lightning', or shocks when touching anything electrically grounded (like the screws on wall switches).
 

Zeedman

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 10, 2016
Messages
3,882
Reaction score
11,865
Points
307
Location
East-central Wisconsin
2023 "beans" continued. The Vignas were less affected by the weather than Phaseolus beans.

20231010_083716.jpg 20231209_004042.jpg
20231209_004608.jpg
"Kirby" cowpea. Came to me in a swap 2010, in a Baker Creek envelope labeled "Kirby's Whippoorwill", but SSE lists it by the shorter name. Rambling 4-6' vines. This had the most fertile soil of the 3 cowpeas grown, and was weeded early - after which the dense growth overcame the late weed crop. It doesn't expand as much as the 'eyed' peas when soaked; so in my mixed cowpeas, it has a firmer texture. It did better than most of the beans this year, over 2 pounds.


20230906_191407.jpg 20231209_004415.jpg

20231209_004442.jpg 20231209_004450.jpg
"Pink Eye Purple Hull" cowpea. From a Gardenweb member in 2008. Normally rambling, rampant 4-6' vines (much like "Kirby" above) but was grown in the poorly-fertile garden extension. Cowpeas normally don't mind poor fertility... but this was basically fill dirt, and I didn't inoculate the seeds. The plants reverted to an almost bush habit, and produced only 19 ounces, about 1/2 of the previous grow out.


20231209_004201.jpg 20231209_004239.jpg
"Zipper Cream" cowpea. Sent to me in 2015 as part of an exchange with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, who wanted some of mine for a cowpea trial. This is a really nice cowpea, and I planted a 20' row with high hopes. Unfortunately (a) they had to battle the resurgent weeds in the rear of the rural garden; and (b) this variety's DTM is too long for my growing season. If not for the late freeze this year, the seeds on the index card might well have been the entire crop. :( Fortunately I was able to get 6 ounces of seed, enough for several exchanges. I have several other cowpeas awaiting trial that I know will grow here, so I won't grow "Zipper Cream" again. I'd be happy to send some to any Southern gardeners who might be interested.

After a successful grow out, the previous crop gets thrown into a drawer until I've gone through a complete growing rotation, or until there are 10 pounds or so. I then mix them together & bag them in 1# freezer bags for friends and family. Last week I soaked about 8 ounces to make peas & greens, the combination is much more attractive than store-bought black eyed peas.
20231124_120221.jpg

(P.S. The tiny red beans in the photo are red adzuki beans)
 
Last edited:

jbosmith

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Oct 2, 2021
Messages
366
Reaction score
1,592
Points
155
Location
Zones 3 and 5 in Northern New England
2023 beans cont.

View attachment 62571 View attachment 62572
"Chester", pole dry (a.k.a. 'Skunk'). From Will Bonsall 2004. Somewhat wispy runners, but still produces a surprisingly good yield. Was weeded late & surrounded by volunteer tomatillos. I'd really hoped for at least a meal of the delicious shellies from this, but let them all go for 24 ounces of dry seed.

I grew up a few miles from the Chester that this bean is named after and I always get a kick out of seeing it. I don't grow it reliably because so many others do, but I do order it from a local small scale seed grower every few years to make sure I have it if it suddenly falls out of favor.

2023 beans cont...

View attachment 62600 View attachment 62601
"Dolloff", pole dry, from an SSE member in Maine 2010. Normally one of my most productive dry beans (nearly 4 pounds last time) but really languished this year. Not sure if it was due to weather or soil fertility, since nothing in that plot did well this year. Like most of my 2023 beans, poor seed quality was much more prevalent than normal, with a lot of culls. I count my blessings that I was able to get 13 ounces of dry seed though, given that the other bean in that plot failed completely.

Dolloff was named by Leigh Hurley, the local seed saver that I mentioned in a recent post who got me into beans. This was one of my first varieties. You can find the history of it here:


Unfortunately her page got hacked once, many years ago, and Google still refuses to list it so it's hard to find. I used to get a lot of requests for her varieties through SSE, especially the ones listed in her "Will the real Vermont Cranberry Bean.." (or something like that - I'm going from memory).

Leigh was in seedsavers as VT PI L, though she seems to have fallen off the map in recent years, both there and in local circles. I hope she's doing well.

However, the beans unfortunately are not in very good shape. They seem old to me, but that's a guess. Or maybe the beans are a mix of old ones and new ones. I'm happy to have them and beans are generally good germinators, but golly I would never sell seeds that look like this! I hope they sprout when I plant them. 🤞

View attachment 62587

These look like dried shellies to me. I bet they'll do fine.

I've never known anyone around here to have these, ever. Needless to say, while I was initially pretty devastated I'm trying to look on the positive - this could be an anomaly. And if it isn't, if it's something that needs to be monitored I'll just have to deal with it. Time in the freezer isn't so terrible an inconvenience. I guess...

Weevils are a fact of life in my community garden plot that I use for trials. They often take a while to really show up en masse indoors, so be vigilant. Freezing is, as you mentioned, an effective control. I also cover my open jars with a single layer of paper towel which I attach with a rubber band so that if one variety is infested, it might not spread. I also freeze any new beans I get to make sure they're free of the little [backspace backspace backspace] buggers.
 

Zeedman

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 10, 2016
Messages
3,882
Reaction score
11,865
Points
307
Location
East-central Wisconsin
2023 "beans" continued - yardlong beans. These are all a sub-species of cowpeas; but they tend to have more elongated seed - and much longer pods - than the short-but-fat seeds of cowpeas bred for dry use. Given that they have different centers of origin, I alternate between them in my gardens, and have yet to see a cross. Maybe my Northern bees haven't figured them out yet. :D

20230825_092039.jpg 20230825_091945.jpg
20231209_004732.jpg 20231209_004806.jpg
"Galante", pole yardlong. Given to me by a friend from the Philippines, originally from East-West Seed Company. One of my most productive yardlongs, and the largest seeded. Very firm pods (most 20-24" long) with a slightly sweet nutty flavor. Grown in my most fertile home plot, these did incredibly well; picked & gave away a lot of snaps, and my biggest yardlong seed yield ever: 21 ounces.


20230825_094530.jpg 20230825_094421.jpg
20231209_005210.jpg 20231209_005244.jpg
"3-Feet-Plus", pole yardlong. From a swap with a Florida Gardenweb member in 2012, originally from the now-defunct Evergreen Y.H. Comparatively long DTM, these were just picking up while I was harvesting dry seed from "Galante" - but continued nearly until frost, long after "Galante" was done. One of my longest yardlongs; 24-30" during warm weather, but shortening late in the season. Ironically, it ended up in the same less-fertile plot as in 2018 (when it was last grown) so I have probably not yet seen its true potential. The source stated that it appears to have some resistance to salty soil; it did well in a garden that had previously been a pool drainage area. 5 ounces of seed, but it should have been much more... flocks of birds began shredding the pods & eating the seed, and completely destroyed over half of the pods as they matured.

I have great neighbors on both sides; but they both put out bird seed, which naturally attracts seed-eating birds. There were flocks of them this year (at least 30-40) and they took a liking to my trellises. I miss the Coopers hawks that nested in my trees for years, and kept the birds at bay... I think the UW professor who caught & banded the parents, then climbed up into their nest, scared them off. :(
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top