Back in June I made a planting of tepary beans. This is my first time growing them, so I consider this a test to see how they do in our climate. I sowed seeds of two varieties, Blue Speckled and Sacaton Brown. You can read about how I planted them in this post. Other than keeping them (mostly) weeded, I haven’t done anything else to them other than to encourage them to vine on the supports I gave them. Back in August they started blooming and setting on pods, which are flattish and mostly contain four to six seeds.
It didn’t take long for the pods to mature, first turning yellow and then brown as they began to dry. Since the pods are supposedly prone to shattering when dry, I’ve been carefully pulling them off the vine as they turn brown. I say ‘carefully’ because the vines themselves are somewhat delicate and a two-handed approach seems to work best for me. I hold the vine with one hand and pull off the pod with the other, not unlike I do with bush beans where it is easy to pull up the whole plant if you aren’t careful.
I’ve been bringing the pods inside to finish drying, since our climate is so humid. Other beans don’t usually dry well outside here, and some have even been known to sprout in the pods if we get a rainy spell at just the right time.
The Blue Speckled variety seems to be a bit earlier than the Sacaton Brown. It has given us dried beans in a little less than 90 days, though the other variety is not far behind. The total yield so far is still quite small, about 1/4 cup of shelled beans, but the plants are still blooming and setting pods.
They have been quite easy to grow, and have not been bothered by pests or disease. Based on the results so far, I believe I will try growing these two varieties again next year. I do want to see how they perform when planted earlier, though I have to say planting them in early June seems to be working quite well here. I’ll do another update later in the season as the harvesting progresses. Who knows, eventually we may get to eat some of them!