Cowpea - Grey Speckled Palapye (Certified Organic)
Vigna sinesis. This pretty little bean is the first cowpea I've had much sucess growing here in the Pacifc Northwest. During our average summer of 2016, I planted these in mid-May and harvested in late August. Productive and easy to harvest and thresh, with long pods held above the groud by short robust plants. Originally from a market in Palapye, Botswana, we credit our friends at Adaptive Seeds for discovering this gem.
FAVAS - Vicia faba
Fava beans are an exceptional over-wintering crop for the Pacific Northwest. Over-wintering favas provide the highest yields of any legume, the ability to double as a cover crop, and are tasty and high in protein. Favas are also tolerant of somewhat soggy soils so can be an option where other cover crops are not. Can be eaten as a shelled green bean or as a dry storage bean. 2 oz. packets.
Fava - Ianto's Return (Certified Organic)
An interbreeding collection representing the diversity of many of the varieties worked with by Ianto Evans, a famous fava breeder. This population has been strongly selecting for overwintering by Nick Routledge in the Willamette Vally, OR. We are still testing it for overwintering in Northwest Washington. Seeds are large and range from purple to lavender to tan. Plants are large with many tillers.
GARBANZOS (aka CHICKPEAS) - Cicer arietinum
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are a cool-weather crop that is sown in the spring with peas and harvested during the mid-summer drought. Plants are typically about 2 feet tall. Garbanzos are one of the more nutritious members of the bean family - rich in protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Packets are 1 ounce and contain approximately 80 seeds.
Garbanzo - Black Kabouli
This very early-maturing garbanzo has a black seed coat. It is very tasty with slightly chewy skins. Makes excellent, purple-hued hummus. Said to be originally from Afghanistan improved by WSU to tolerate cooler soils and light frosts. Reliably matures in the maritime northwest. Grown organically but not certified.
LENTILS - Lens culinaris
Lentils mature well in cooler areas like the Pacific Northwest, but do not typically give as high a yield as common beans. We think it’s important to have diversity in our gardens, though, for more balanced nutrition and protection against disease and insect problems that can swoop in and devastate a mono-crop. For these reasons, and because lentils are such a sweet little plant and can be cooked without soaking first, we think they are a valuable secondary legume. Packets are ½ oz, ~400 seeds.
Lentil - Le Puy
We obtained this variety from our friends at Uprising Seeds and they are so entrancingly gorgeous that we can’t help but offer them as well. Tiny seeds with turquois mottling, each seed appears to be its own miniature painting. Grown organically but not certified. 1/2 oz packets.
It's a bit cool in the Pacific Northwest for lima beans, but I have found a few that will mature here to dry bean stage, although they are not nearly as productive as a standard dry bean. In a hot summer or in warmer parts of the country these are less of a gamble, but still a fun one to try even in Northwest Washington. Very tender and full of flavor.
I have to admit - I keep myself inspired by trying a few crazy things every year. The aquarian in me requires that I must have a little bit of "fringe" in my farming. This year I had a LOT of fun with peanuts, a crop that may never be profitable here, but I'll be damned if I can't enjoy growing it for myself and my brave seed customers! Others back east have had good success selecting peanuts over the years to be more and more productive in cooler summer regions. I intend to do the same here in the Pacific Northwest. The two varieties I am offering did the best in the 2016 trials, and the seed has been harvested from the plants that were the highest yielding. Growing in a hoophouse will give you the most success if you live in the north. We started seeds in pots in early May, transplanted in June, harvested after the first frost. Packets contain 20 seeds.
Peanuts, Schronce's Deep Black (Certified Organic)
Arachis hypogaea. Schronce's Deep Black likely originated as the heirloom Carolina Black, but proved to be much earlier and more productive in our climate. Before it was offered to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for preservation in 2011, Schronce's Deep Black had been selected since 1980 in North Carolina by Gordon Schronce to have darker skins and larger pods than Carolina Black.
SOYBEANS - Glycine max
There are many varieties of soybeans that are early, much tastier than conventional soybeans grown in the U.S., and are not contaminated by Roundup-Ready genes. Delicious as a simply cooked dry bean; they cook in about 90 minutes. Packets are 1 ounce, containing around 100 seeds.
Soybean - Black Jet (Certified Organic)
Tasty, early, small black variety. One of the earliest. Still challenging to grow during a cool summer but will mature most years in the Pacific Northwest. Try planting soybeans and other heat-loving legumes along the south edge of a tall planting (such as corn, pole beans, or amaranth) to trap extra heat.