- Saving seeds from common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) is a lovely way to begin your seed saving journey. Phaseolus vulgaris varieties are classified according to how they grow (bush, semi-vining/half-runner or vining/pole) and how they are eaten (fresh (snap or shelled) dry). The varieties described here can all be consumed as dry beans.
The common bean was most likely domesticated twice, once in the Andes around 8,00 years ago, and once in Central America around 7,500 years ago. Common beans were cultivated in throughout South and North America. The Spanish took them to Europe in the sixteenth century and they made their way to Africa and Asia from there.
The varieties are listed in alphabetical order. The date indicates when it was grown in North America.
- Black Turtle: 1806. Semi-vining. Dry bean. Small black bean.
- Dark Red Kidney: 1880s. Bush. Dry bean. Long kidney shaped beans
- Dutch Brown: Bush. Fresh when young or Dry bean. Amber brown beans.
- Dwarf Horticultural: 1800s. Bush. Snap or dry bean. Pinkish beans with purple streaks, oval colourful pods. Likely brought to North America by Italian newcomers.
- Great Northern 1887. Semi-vining. Snap, shelled or dry bean. Medium-sized white kidney shaped beans. Found in centuries old burial mounds.
- Hutterite: 1750. Bush. Shell or dry bean. Greenish tan plum bean with a charcoal ring around the hilium cook into a creamy chowder in less than an hour. Brought from Austria by Hutterite Christians or it may be a Russian selection of the China Yellow Bean grown in North America since 1820s.
- Ireland Creek Annie: 1930s. Bush. Shelling or dry bean. Mustard coloured beans. This English heirloom has been grown on Ireland Creek Farm, BC since the 1930s
- Jacob’s Cattle: Bush. Snap and dry bean. maroon and white beans with a kidney shape. It is a Prince Edward Island legend.