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How to Plant Black Beans

black & white bean, black bean & barley image by Jane September from

The black bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is a variety of the common bean that's popular in Latin American recipes and commonly used to make refried beans. Black beans are an indeterminate bean plant, meaning they form vines. Sow dried, raw black beans--you can purchase them from most garden stores and nurseries, as well as in bulk from grocery stores and health food outlets--in your garden to start your own backyard harvest of beans.

Place the dry black beans into a dish and add enough water to cover the beans. Allow the beans to soak for two to three hours. This hydrates the seeds and increases the beans' ability to germinate.

Choose a garden plot. The ideal area for planting black beans should have well-drained soil and receive full sun for six to seven hours per day.

Break up the soil. Use a spade tp loosen the dirt into clumps to a depth of six inches. Add two inches of compost and mix it into the soil to increase the dirt's organic content and boost its water and nutrient retention capabilities.

Sow the black beans. Bury each bean an inch below the surface of the dirt. Place the beans six inches apart. If you are planting more than one row of black beans, separate the rows by three feet.

Water the planted beans twice a day or as needed to keep the soil moist. The beans will typically germinate within 10 days.

Set up a trellis behind each bean plant once the plant is three to four inches tall. As the black bean seedlings develop vine tendrils, loosely tie each tendril to the trellis, using garden twine. This trains the vine onto the support of the trellis.

Harvest the black beans after the pod has dried on the vine and crackles when you touch it. It typically takes 40 to 60 days from sowing to harvest. The beans inside should be black in color. If the beans are white or green and moist, they are too young to harvest.


Stagger the planting dates for your black bean plants. For example, plant a second row four weeks after the first row. This provides for a steady harvest and supply of black beans.

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