This is the first year I’ve tried growing black beans, and I think it was very successful – the plants grew well, you don’t have to harvest them on a very specific time table (like green beans), and the production level was high. The only downside is that it took an awful lot of plants – and a lot of shelling – to produce only a little more than a quart of black beans!
I purchased the seeds online from Territorial Seed, then planted them like any other bush bean. But, instead of picking the pods, I wanted until the plants died and began to dry out, then pulled them up by the roots and lay them out to dry for another couple of days. After that, it was an easy project to shake the pods off the plants. Because I didn’t have too many, I shelled them by hand, working at it in front of the television for several nights.
That’s all there is to it – grow them, dry them, shell them, then store in an airtight container until you’re ready to cook them (I’ll probably slow cook them in a crock pot). Next year, I think it will be worth it to put several more garden beds into black bean production.