survival garden

One Of The Best Survival Garden Foods – Beans

If you asked me what is the best garden food for survival, I would answer, potatoes. Why? Because they’re pretty easy to grow, and are high in calories for a vegetable (important for survival!). A high caloric yield per square foot. I’ll link to an article below. So what’s this talk about beans then?

I also want to mention beans / legumes as a survival garden food. They are not super high in calories (somewhere in the middle-ish). But they’re also easy to grow. They are nutritious with a pretty good balance of carbs and protein. And a source of Calcium, vitamin A, C, and Iron.

Legumes are plants that produce pods which split open naturally along a seam, revealing a row of seeds. Legumes (beans) produce their own nitrogen, and in fact they return nitrogen back into the soil when they die off.

Beans are a great crop rotation plant. They help maintain soil quality by replacing nitrogen back into the garden soil where the nitrogen has been depleted by other crops.

Beans are rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They are a good food for the human diet. Beans can be a healthy substitute for meat, given its protein content.

Beans are easy to grow. I suggest that anyone who is experimenting with growing their own survival garden food, to be sure and learn to grow, harvest, and store beans.

The picture above is from way back during 2010 at a previous location. I grew a lot of pole beans that particular year. During that time we lived in a typical house on a suburban lot. So not too much room for gardening lots of sprawling plants. So I had decided to try plants that would grow “up” so as to utilize space more efficiently.

Shown are two of several trellis’s that I used to assist their upward growth. I have seen pole beans growing up makeshift strings attached between a ground support and a higher support. I’ve also seen simple tee-pee structures built of small wood poles which nicely support the upward growth of the pole bean plants. I suspect that you could also plant them along side trees and they would follow the tree trunk upwards.

Anyway, do any of you grow pole beans? Or another variety? The most recent type that I’ve grown here have been regular green Bush Beans. We canned them all. Tried a few different varieties. Some taste better than others.

Beans, beans, the magical fruit…

[ Read: Survival Garden Calories List of Vegetables ]

[ Read: Potato Survival Food ]


    1. Mrs. U:
      Agreed 100%
      BUT, I sure like Kentucky Wonder Beans.
      BTW the strings in String Beans are GREAT roughage.

  1. I plant a family heirloom pole bean. I put up a net wire fence with drip irrigation and leave it there for beans for two or three years before moving it, never have had any disease problems. Pole beans are extremely productive per square foot. We put up all we eat in a year and give away even more from about 60 feet of beans.

    Another plus to pole beans is they save your back. : )

    I do grow field peas but not butter beans, my shellers (thumbs) don’t work so good any more.

  2. I eat a lot of “dry” beans so that is what I grow. They do better for me than green beans for fresh eating for some reason and seem to be less attractive to the rabbits, bugs and birds. I don’t mind the work of shelling and sorting and storing in glass jars. They could be canned too but that takes up more storage space.

    1. Juliet Sierra,
      we plant peas- black crowder’s, some people call them cow peas. green beans and pinto’s and other things every year and when picking them we always miss some, the dry ones we pick and save for seeds for the next year. they always come up good.
      and yes, Deep South butter beans are hard to shell. we have two fruit stands here that have bean sheller’s for a price. worth every penny. 10 dollars a bushel.

      1. A sheller, how I would have loved that during the summers when my momma would buy bushels of crowders and purple hulls. “NO you can not go out till this bushel is finished.” sigh

      2. Scout

        Yeah sheller machines used to be common in my area. No longer. FIL used to build them too. The plans were in his head. With his dementia he doesn’t even remember that he built them. What a cruel disease. : (

  3. Scout, I save some for seed too. I’m trying a new-to-me succotash bean this year. Is there a specific butter bean seed? I only find lima beans which I don’t think are the same.

    1. Juliet Sierra,
      same thing, people in the south call em butter beans. HAHA

  4. Darn lost my last comment, got to start over. Anyway, the wife and I have several trellis like the ones shown, and we grow Blue Lake pole beans on them. By the way, those are heirloom beans, and we just let some stay on the vine till they dry out, then pick them for seed. they seem to be bigger and longer than bush beans, and might taste a little better. We also grow some yellow bush beans to mix in when we freeze them, for a little variety. The pole beans pickle nice to, because of their length, they fit in tall pint and 1/2 jars, or cut to fit pint. Love fresh steamed beans and bacon bits to. Mmmmmm! Soup, stew, you name it.

      1. Mrs. U,
        we haven’t planted regular green beans like the kentucky wonders for a long time now. we have been planting the flat pinto bush beans for a while, they grow better here anyhow, more heat tolerant and they make all year. (we can get a tan in the shade here in the summer :). we can them whole and they have a much better taste to us.
        and it may be the soil. real sandy.
        we use to plant radishes but they would be like eating ghost peppers, HOT HOT HOT.
        our Jerusalem artichokes that volunteered up 3 yrs ago down by the barn are coming up good, i may have to cut them back some this year. i have no idea how they got there other than birds eating seeds and pooping.
        take care

  5. pole beans would be great for people who have small areas to plant, like a backyard area. grow up, not out.
    although i have never tried it with beans but i have had good luck using metal fence posts and bailing wire on other things like grapes. cucumbers and many other things can be grown that way i think. try it!
    good luck all

  6. For our climate, we run out of season before pole beans can fruit. However, bush beans are great. By wintersowing bush beans we can harvest them before direct sown beans have hardly fruited.
    Every variety of green and wax bean we’ve tried, so far, all grow well.
    We pressure can, including the “flavored” variations found in the Ball Canning book. There is a mushroom, a balsamic and a third flavor.
    We make Dilly beans, and dehydrate them as well. Plan to try leather breeches, an old form of drying.
    Picked up a bean ‘frencher’ from Lehman’s Hardware to try this year.

  7. We have 2, 4ft square raised beds that are planted with beans on both sides. The whole garden is fenced in and over the top 9 ft. as there are a lot of hungry animals around. They always grow through roof fence and through the winter drop bean seeds when the wind blows. Last year we didn’t plant a garden as we were so dry. Not much of a winter and no rain. In July we had a deluge which happened throughout the month and into Aug. Well all the dropped bean seeds grew. Along with carrots, lettuce, squash, tomatoes all from dropped seeds. We canned 30 Pt and gave lots away. We mostly grow purple podded green beans. Thank you God.

  8. – We live in Cotton Country. In our area, it is common for a cotton farmer to plant as much as 15 – 20 acres of black-eyed peas (actually a bean) for the nitrogen they fix. It is often easy to ask permission to pick a couple of grocery bags full, and if you do, you are frequently asked to “Please don’t bother bringing us any, we have a freezer full.” That said, we eat them frozen green, dry, fresh, and canned. The more they are picked, the more productive they are, especially in a home garden. We do plant blue lake and pintos, but the humble black-eyed pea (or cowpea) is our go-to.

    – Papa S.

  9. Plant heirloom/non-hybrid beans. I saved some seeds from last season’s garden and planted. Had zero fail rate on seeds and now have a zillion about ready to be canned.

  10. Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart
    The more you eat them, the more you fart,
    The more you fart the better you feel
    So eat your beans with every meal.

  11. Joe C, the version I’ve always heard is just slightly different. It doesn’t use that “bad F word.”

    Beans, beans, the musical fruit,
    The more you eat, the more you toot.
    The more you toot, the better you feel,
    So eat your beans with every meal.

  12. Haha, Wendy
    That lyric wasn’t even the one I remember, as a kid.
    But it is this one;
    “Peas, peas, peas, peas
    Eating goober peas
    Ohh, how delicious
    Eating goober peas”

    Peas, beans
    What’s the diff…?

    1. In fact, I think my dad thru in lima beans for the peas segment, from what I remember.

    2. Joe c, Goober peas are peanuts. At least that what they told us when we learned that song.

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