We often see dry beans in the stores, but what do beans in the field look like? Check out this quick photo compilation to find out! Also, make sure to read the fascinating fact from a renowned bean breeder at the end!
I took all these photos around mid-August 2021 at Colorado State University’s Agricultural Research, Development, and Education Center (ARDEC), when the plants were about 1 month from harvest.
You may be wondering when they were planted, right? These plants had been in the ground for over 60 days. Bean plants often grow for over 90 days before harvest, although times vary with type and cultivar of bean. If you want to see what a pinto planting looks like, check out this video.
Okay, here come some lovely photos with descriptions!
Pinto beans make up about 80% of dry bean production here in Colorado, and they are the number one dry bean throughout the United States. Did you know that not all pintos are the same, though? There are many different varieties, and bean breeders are constantly looking to improve the plants. It is a fascinating process!
About 1 month before harvest, this is what the seed looked like. You can see the characteristic pinto bean coloration starting to kick in.
Now, here is another type of pulse, cowpeas!
What are pulses? Read this! Basically pulses are a type of legume that includes dry beans.
I had never seen cowpeas in the field and was super excited. They hold promise as a very drought-resistant pulse. See how different they look from pintos?!
And here are a couple of the other types of beans they were growing out at ARDEC: cranberry beans and light red kidney beans.
Beans are beautiful, right?!
I Asked a Bean Breeder How Long It Takes…
Bean breeding is quite the process! I asked a renowned bean breeder, Dr. Mark Brick, how long it takes from when the breeding process begins to when farmers are really growing the beans for the public.
Drumroll… (this is me trying to give you time and some space on the page to think)
He said that if the process goes smoothly…12 years!! That is commitment!
Wondering anything else about beans? Let me know! I will be in the fields a couple times over the next few weeks.