Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Harvesting Beans the Hard Way

Some of our beans are easily harvested by using our mechanical combine (COM-bine). (Farmer  jargon tip for the next time you want to impress someone at a social occasion: COM-bin-ing is the act of harvesting with a mechanical combine. So we combine our beans, corn, wheat, oats, etc.)

Except when we don't:

Some of our heirloom beans grow on sprawling, low-to-the-ground plants. Using a combine to harvest them would waste too much. This is probably why they are heirloom beans, instead of becoming mainstream, widely-grown varieties like the black turtle bean. Hand-harvesting is hard work.

This is what we've been doing for several weeks, on the days with nice weather.

This is what we've been doing for several weeks, on the days with not so nice weather. There are a couple of steps in between picking and sorting, but I don't have pictures handy for those steps.


  1. Wow Lona - I always assumed there was a professional way, but apparently not. I love beans but have to admit this is the reason I often don't include them in the garden.

    But, when I do, I'm always thrilled to have them....

  2. Jackie, there probably is a professional way. But since we are new to beans (this is year 2), we are learning as we go. Plus "professional way" usually equals costly equipment. Not an option.

    I found this video about how "real" bean farmers harvest. Keep in mind that they are not growing those low-to-the-ground heirloom varieties. But maybe the concept (and the expensive equipment) would work:


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