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

flowerbug

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Flowerbug, I am very curious about this Purple Dove bean. You seem to have a very special attachment to it. What is it about Purple Dove that makes it such a compelling bean for you to grow?

if you search on the name here you'll see a lot of my previous cheerleading. :) it's a wonderful bean (search the bean threads back to 2018).

i got it from @Bluejay77 as a dry bean, but the first season i planted it i tried eating a few fresh off the plant and really liked the flavor so the next year i grew enough to cook some up. yes, it was delicious as a fresh cooked/steamed bean plus the dry beans are also good (mild pinto flavor, smaller bean so they cook faster).

plus i like the plant itself, dark leaves, purple flowers, bush habit. does well in about any garden here (i have a mix of soil types but most of my gardens are almost all clay as the base soil type - which does get amended as i can grow or find materials to add).

they also finish pretty quickly. first flowers seem to come in about 5-6 weeks depending upon the weather.

it is our main fresh eating bean.

the only downside to them i've found so far is that they are Japanese Beetle magnets, but even with getting chewed up pretty well the plants still seem to get a good crop (sometimes i can pick off the beetles before they've done a lot of damage and other times i'm too busy and don't get them all). someone else might consider the small size of the seeds as a downside but i'm ok with them as they are - they cook up quicker than larger beans and their flavor and texture is great. i have about 8lbs on hand right now from the past few years of growing them. we'll eat them eventually if they don't get given away as samples.

i've now given out hundreds of samples and we've eaten many lbs of fresh beans and also many more lbs cooked up from dry beans (oh and we've also eaten some cooked from the shelly stage which were also good eating).
 

Blue-Jay

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This may be an odd question, but in selecting beans to plant this year I dumped each bag out and hand picked the biggest, fattest, nicest looking ones. Is that the 'correct' or preferred method, to select primarily based on seed size? Or is it better to have a random sample?
Yep the best looking seed is the way to do it I believe. It's gotta grow the best plants. That would include the biggest and most naturally shaped seed. This is what I ask for in the Network seed returns. This is what I call quality seed Not small, terribly stained or oddly shaped seed. The small and oddly shaped seed is what goes into my bean soup cannister for consumtion.
 

flowerbug

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This may be an odd question, but in selecting beans to plant this year I dumped each bag out and hand picked the biggest, fattest, nicest looking ones. Is that the 'correct' or preferred method, to select primarily based on seed size? Or is it better to have a random sample?

it depends upon your goals. for me the goals are different with different beans. some beans i am actively developing and trying to improve for certain traits so i will select certain beans. if after some time i suspect things have drifted too far from the original sample i'll do more research to see if getting a new sample is worth it or just abandon the variety if there is too much difficulty with it (for various reasons).

in other cases where i am trying to maintain an existing variety then i am picking some amount of seeds to make sure i'm getting a good representation of the variety as it was like when it was given to me and then i also pick a certain amount at random to offset any biases i might have within my other selection. i will also do research to see what the variety is up to with other people and see if their beans are similar or not.
 

flowerbug

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Thank you for the detailed description Flowerbug. Purple Dove does indeed sound like an exceptional cultivar. I will add it to my wish list for next year!

based upon a series of posts from last year's bean thread i would make sure to get them from someone who's seeds (@Bluejay77 :) ) do not have many outcrosses in them. there were some people who were growing and selling them and it looked like their beans had wandered and they didn't cull the outcrosses.

i did not experience any outcrosses in my own Purple Dove growing and seed sorting until the just passed (5th) season and i've got all those set aside for further experimentation - one plant i pulled as soon as i saw it wasn't true to type for growth habit and the pods weren't right either.

since we do like to eat a lot of these i've grown quite a few plants each of the last three seasons. enough that we can eat them fresh and i also get 5 - 15 lbs of seeds (for smaller seeds that's a lot of individual seeds to look at which i don't mind at all).

which reminds me of the other trait i like about them, the shelling out is pretty easy if you get them fully dry.

and then this also reminds me of the other slightly annoying trait they have of the seeds having a bit of the pod stuck to the eye. not all seeds will have this. currently i am working on this and selecting beans that come out of the pods cleanly and so when i am shelling i do put aside beans from the clean ones for replanting.

it's not yet eliminated completely in the seeds i select, but i think i'm making progress. every bean less i don't have to fiddle with more during sorting is an improvement. sometimes they will fall off by rubbing the seeds together - any that remain after that are taken off with my fingernail. since i am going through them closely anyways (looking for outcrosses) it isn't a thing that bothers me and people who don't care about the dry bean use as their main use of this bean it's not even something to worry about. yet since we do like them as a dry bean i hope i can eventually get this trait taken care of...
 

Blue-Jay

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and then this also reminds me of the other slightly annoying trait they have of the seeds having a bit of the pod stuck to the eye. not all seeds will have this. currently i am working on this and selecting beans that come out of the pods cleanly and so when i am shelling i do put aside beans from the clean ones for replanting.
That is the vein that runs down the center of bean pod that the bean plant feeds the seed in the pod as it's forming. I refer to it as the placental vein. That probably not the correct term for it but it would suffice as about the same funtioning in animals that give live birth to their young. I think that vein might be called the Dorsal Suture. Anyone correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway I thought I was the only one that is mildly irritated when that vein being dry and brittle so part of it breaks off in shelling pods and remains stuck to the the hilium of the bean. I spend all kinds of time flipping them off with my finger nail when I'm shelling dry beans. Some bean varieties shell nice and clean without a piece of that vein sticking to the eye of the bean and sometimes a bean variety will have that inner white membrane stay intact when shelling pods. I just love it when both of those items stay intact inside the pod and all I get is beautiful clean beans. 😁
 

Branching Out

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Spent a few hours planting bean seeds this morning and it was wonderful. Initially I was worried about planting them directly in the soil because usually our soil is wet and the weather is cold, so they need to either be started later or in pots. Then I thought no. I will not be intimidated by a vegetable-- lol-- and I went ahead and popped them in the dirt. This spring we have two weeks of hot weather in the forecast, with cool nights dipping below 9C/48F. Strange weather pattern, but good for warming the soil for the bean seeds.

I have quite a few little cups with seeds of different varieties, all of which are noted on a list tacked to a clipboard so it doesn't blow away. For clarity I drew a planting map as I sowed the seeds, as well as adding labels to the planting beds. Some seeds will still go into containers, so I can share those seedlings with friends and neighbours. Now I just need them to sprout.
 

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