Beans need a warmer soil to germinate, at least 15 C (60F), cold soil can actually cause permanent shock to plants and they never recover. Plant beans 1 to 1.5 inches deep, 4 inches apart, in rows 12 to 16 inches apart (the more room the beans have, the more they will bush out). Plant into moist soil and give them a good watering after planting. Keep the soil damp, but not wet, until all the seeds have germinated (about 4 to 8 days after planting). After the seedlings come up, water every 3 days. Once the plants are 8 inches tall, water the root area only when they look thirsty (ie- are very droopy or limp); over watering will limit bean production. See Harvest/recipe sheet for more info.
Harvesting Black Turtle Beans
- Remove pods from the plants when they are light tan and hard in late fall. Open one as a test to ensure the beans are dark black and hard enough that you can’t dent them between your fingernails.
- Pick or snip the dried pods from the plants as they are ready. The bean pods may not all be ready at the same time.
- Pull up the plants if it is late in the season, all the pods are yellow and extended rain threatens. Hang the plants upside down in a dry area, like a shed or garage, until pods are dry and the beans are hard.
- Crack each pod open down its center seed and remove the beans. Each pod contains seven or eight black beans.
- Place the beans on a cookie sheet and let them dry for several days. Any moisture left in the beans could cause them to go moldy in storage.
- Store the dried beans in a closed container such as a sealed plastic bag or screw-top jar. Add more beans as you harvest and dry them.
Likes: Carrot, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Marigold
Dislikes: Chives, Leek, Garlic