I don’t know how it is where you live but none on the seed suppliers in my area carry red kidney beans as part of their range. Maybe it’s because they are too tender to grow in this part of the country – unlikely, or perhaps it’s because of their toxicity if they are not correctly prepared before cooking and eating. I don’t know answer for sure, but I do know that you can pick up large packs of dried red kidney beans in your local supermarket.

I love to grow the same edible crops that are used in our home cooking, and as chilli-con-carne is a favourite in my family, home grown red kidney beans are a must. With knowledge gained from last year’s trials and errors, I shall now give you my so called ‘expert’ tips in how to grow red Kidney beans from dried seed. It begins with choosing a free draining site that gets plenty of sun and is protected from harsh weather. It is also worth preparing the ground a couple of months before you intent planting you red kidney beans with plenty of mulch and farmyard manures.

How to germinate red kidney beans from dried seed

1. Create your own compost using a 2:1:1 mix of John Innes ‘Seed and Potting’ compost, Horticultural grit and top soil from where they will be finally planted.

2. Soak a handful of dried beans overnight in a bowl of luke-warm water.

3. Using modular plug trays or 2-3 inch pots – do not use seed trays as you need to keep root disturbance to an absolute minimum – sow your seeds, 1 per pot/module into your compost mix, having the bean about ½ inch below the surface.

4. Water well and then move to a warm, bright windowsill – keep moist, but do not allow the compost to become water-logged.

5. The beans will begin to germinate after a couple of days and after there have produced their first two true leave they can be hardened off for planting outside.

6. Planting red kidney beans can only be considered after the threat of frosts is over and when outside temperatures are consistently reaching 16 degrees Celsius.

7. Plant seedlings 18 inches apart in rows 2ft apart.

8. Red kidney beans are prone to damage from slugs and snails so make sure that there is adequate protection against these pests as soon as the plants go outside.

9. During the growing season be aware that red kidney beans require plenty of water and nutrition otherwise the crop can fail – mulching regularly will help with this.

10. Your beans will grow as a small bush and need support during the growing season. Make sure that this in place shortly after planting – give them the same support that you would do peas such as wigwams or small stakes.

When to harvest kidney beans
Allow the bean pods to dry as much as they can before the wet weather of autumn arrives. If they are not dry enough before that time, pick them and allow them to dry off fully indoors. Once completely dry they can be stored or used for cooking.

Dried beans also contain toxins, so when cooking with dried beans they must be soaked overnight in cold water. Afterwards, rinse the beans thoroughly then boil them rapidly for 10 minutes before adding them with your other recipe ingredients.
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Indrani said...

This post was very intresting. I have red kidney beans in my kitchen but didnt think of planting them. I shall try it now. If i were to plant it in a pot then how deep should the pot be and how wide? Do these plants do well in pots?
Indrani - India.

Simon Eade said...

Hello Indrani, to be honest I have never grown beans in pots because of the high levels of nutrients and water they require but there is no reason you can't grow them this way so long as you can give the plants what they need. I would look at using a soil based composed - maybe John Innes No3 with some horticultural grit or perlite added for extra drainage. Use a pot that is aout 12 inches wide and similarly deep.You will probably need to water most days during the growing season where you are but the whole thing will have to be a bit of an experiment. Good luck and don't forget to use plenty of feed once the plant gets going.

Lizbeth said...

Hallo - can anyone tell me whether I can use big seed from runner beans - i.e. dry them and use for chilli beans/add to soup without poisoning myself?!!

Anonymous said...

yes the scarlet runner bean is edible
it is often used in chili in the western united states. also humming birds love the flowers.


Anonymous said...

Cool! but how do you grow it in cotton?

Anonymous said...

it doesn't have to be that complicated i had no experience whatsoever in planting i just put the bean in a soda bottle with the top cut off , added rich, black soil and pushed the bean in the soil about a fingers' length an i watered i half a cut a day for 2 days then i poked holes in the bottom with a pushpin then continued watering it half a cup a day then after it sprouted i gradually fed it it more water a day

Anonymous said...

i did the same thing with a bell pepper and its healthy and garlic it too is healthy also my bean only once had insects on it i used rose insecticide and it works perfectly

Anonymous said...

I have planted red kidney beans in my backyard. Can I pluck it when it is young and use it like string beans. I did not understand which part of the plant is toxic.

Carlos Olivencia said...

What would be the technicality for growing this in a green-wall.