This was my first year growing dried beans. We planted two rows 10 feet each. We neglected the first row and by the time we remembered to harvest them the bean plants had already opened their pods and released most of their cargo. All that was left on the bushy plants were dangling open shells, twisted like a spiral staircase (twisting into this shape must help get the beans loose?)
However, the second row was choc full of black beans. Yellowed with age, and dried and bursting with little black pearls. After they were shucked, a 10' row yielded 2 cups of dried black beans. A lot of work for something you can buy so inexpensive. But here is why it was worth it to me:
1. The kids helped me shuck the beans, and any way to get them involved with our food is priceless.
2. Beans give nitrogen to our soil = GOOD!
3. This act of planting, growing, harvesting, and shucking gives me an appreciation for something commonplace, such as the bean. Even if we only get one or two meals from it, the rest of the year when I eat beans, I will have a deeper understanding of the energy it took to bring that bean to my mouth.