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This is our Doomsday Dry Bean Seeds page. It tells how many dry beans one would need on hand in an emergency situation, if all one had to eat were dry beans.
The bean we recommend is the pinto bean pictured at right.
Now there are many types of dry beans but we will focus on the pinto for this page. It is the easiest to grow, store and cook.
One cup of pinto beans contains about 245 calories. One plant will produce about one cup of beans. On a 2,000 calorie diet we would need about nine cups of beans per day. That is nine plants per person per day.
We would need 3,285 plants a year. One plant would produce about 100 seeds. That would be another 400 seeds for seed production. And we would want 400 seeds in reserve for emergency purposes.
Let's say we would want 4,000 bean seeds.
Pinto beans, if kept dry, will last for years for seed production. Even more years for eating. Pinto beans are really the best all around food in a doomsday situation.
Native to Mexico,
pintos take about 90 to 150 days to grow as a dry bean but can be harvested
earlier and eaten as a green snap bean. They require very little
care, although they need more space between plants than other bean
types. Since they are indigenous to subtropical climes, they can be
sensitive to cold.
In a raised bed that is 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, you can grow about 400 plants. You would need 10 raised beds of 32 square feet to grow 4000 plants.
I would plant one plot a week or every two weeks to stagger my plantings so I am not trying to harvest and process a whole lot of beans at one time.
If I want dry beans I will leave them on the plants until the pods dry out and turn brittle to the touch. It will be much easier to thresh them.
"Threshing is the process of removing seeds from the plant and breaking up remaining plant materials (e.g., stems and leaves), into what is called chaff. The dry seed heads attached to the plants are rubbed or crushed to release the seed and break down the plant material. This step facilitates the subsequent separation of the seeds from the plant materials in the seed cleaning process."
Trays with various sized screens (seen above) can be used for this process. You will want to make sure and keep the seed dry. You shake the screen from side to side and the chaff is broken down and falls through the holes or the wind blows it away.
It will be a full-time job trying to get everything ready for the winter months. But our ancestors did it, so I am sure we will be able to manage it as well.
All of the variety information on the David's Garden Seeds® website, including the days to
maturity, color and size are based on data from tests done at specific
locations. Many factors, including geographic location, daytime and
nighttime temperatures, the availability of plant nutrients, many unknown climate factors and insects/pest interact to determine a variety's
performance. For information on which varieties will perform best in
your area, we recommend that you contact your local county extension agent or a Master Gardener.
David’s Garden Seeds®, gardening is our passion. We provide top quality,
non-GMO seeds so families can learn about gardening and love it. In turn, we
hope they will pass this passion down to their children and
grandchildren, teaching them to grow delicious food, fresh herbs and