Cool (Black Turtle) Beans

Save money by buying your Black Turtle bean seeds at the grocery store.


The Snarky Gardener was perusing the local health food store when a thought occurred to him, “Those organic beans and peas would work well as seed”.  A little research revealed that Black Turtle beans are a bush heirloom variety that goes back into the 1700’s (and probably much earlier).  I grew Jacob’s Cattle beans last year but wanted to add another dry bean to my collection.  The nice part about buying them at the store is that they are $1.99 a pound versus a lot more from seed companies (including shipping, etc).  And you can eat any you don’t plant.  The down side is that you won’t know exactly what sub-variety of Black Turtle beans you have nor will you know how old the seed is, but I don’t think it matters if they grow well and taste good.


5 thoughts on “Cool (Black Turtle) Beans”

  1. This really is a great way to get inexpensive seeds and it has the added fun of “discovery.” On the other end of the value spectrum I’ve tried germinating and growing nearly every seedy spice in my spice cupboard with mixed success. One thing I have yet to try is to get the bag of bean soup mix that has a dozen or so varieties in it and test them out. I think that would be an especially fun activity to do with kids or childish adults.

  2. In a small garden it is hard to know what pollinated the bean flower to produce the seed. For example melons and cucumbers will pollinate each other, the fruit will be okay but, the next generation will be unknown until it is grown and harvested. I would expect a farm, producing black beans to have black bean pollinated seeds, but, we cannot be promised that if it’s neighbor is growing green beans.

    1. It’s my understanding that some vegetables (beans, peas, lettuce, and tomatoes) are more self pollinating than other types (like squashes), so crosses are much less likely. The book “The Seed Underground” goes through this in more detail.

  3. I’m interested to hear if this will work for you. I know that potatoes are treated to prevent sprouting, so you can’t plant them, but beans shouldn’t be like that if they were dried properly.

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