Black Beans & Kidney Beans


Most types of beans are grown using similar techniques. Black beans and kidney beans are two types of dry beans. Although they are often dried to improve storage, both black beans and kidney beans can be used fresh. Growing enough bean plants to produce enough beans for drying and storage require a very large garden. However, with enough space and patience for shelling and drying, both of these types can grow in North American gardens.


According to Cornell University, each acre planted in beans in Colorado produced 32 pounds of dried beans. Because black beans and kidney beans are so similar, they have similar rates of production. California production was around 35 pounds per acre. By dividing the number of feet in an acre, 43,560, by the number of pounds produced per acre, you can estimate the space you need to produce a pound of dried beans. In Colorado, you would need between 1,300 and 1,400 square feet to grow a pound of dried beans. In California, you can get the same yields using about 100 square feet less. The difference in yields between the two states is likely due to altitude, climate and other local growing conditions.

Growing Environment

The growing environment for black beans and kidney beans is the same. Both types of beans need full sun. They both grow best in loamy soil that drains well. Bean plants need warm temperature to grow well. Both black beans and kidney beans do best when temperatures are between 65 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Although beans are considered to have average water requirements, adequate water is especially important during flowering. They need about an inch of water a week. Watering in the morning allows moisture on the plants to dry, reducing problems with disease. Beans need long summers and dry falls for optimum quality.


Plant black beans and kidney beans after the risk of frost. Plant beans in 4- to 8-inch-wide rows. Space the plants 24 to 36 inches apart. If you can, check the temperature of the soil before planting. Soil should be warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit to increase germination rates. Plant seeds 1 inch deep if the soil is compacted. If you are planting in loose soil, plant them 1 1/2 inches deep.


Beans are a climbing crop. But they won't interweave themselves through horizontal wires. You may need to thread each plant to the next higher wire if trying to use horizontal wires. By using diagonal wires, you can often encourage beans to climb wire trellises. Other forms of trellises that work are tripod-style trellises made with three or four legs.


Black beans and kidney beans have very shallow roots. Be careful when digging weeds. Purdue University recommends shallow hoeing of weed tops. By removing the tops, the weeds will eventually starve out. Mulch can be another good way to control weeds. By adding an inch or two of organic mulch, you will both reduce weeds and provide organic matter to your garden.

Keywords: growing dry beans, home bean production, bean cultivation

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.