In 2007, long time gardener and former Lummi Island resident Krista Rome decided to find out if dry beans and grains could be grown in our area. Her project was successful. Working on a 100′ x 100′ plot of borrowed land near Everson she began to experiment with different grains and varieties of beans. As every vegetarian knows, combining beans and grains provides a complete protein and is one of the answers to the meat eater FAQs: “How do you get your protein, anyway? Aren’t you afraid you might die if you don’t eat meat?”
Krista isn’t a vegetarian but she recognizes that if necessity requires her to live lower on the food chain a reliable source (that is, something you grow yourself) of beans and grains will be very important. Whatever you think about vegetarianism you might have to admit that it can be a valuable survival skill. It’s comforting to know, for example, that you will not die if you don’t have meat on the table. Beans may not be your thing but it’s nice to have a good supply of tasty beans on hand. (I will not revisit the bean soaking and cooking controversy generated by my quintessential blog post, “Thinking About Beans“).
Being able to grow grains on the island could turn out to be very important in the future—important if you’d like to have a slice of bread or a tortilla once in awhile (Krista has also grown dent corn, used for making flour).
The Backyard Bean and Grain Project was successful enough that Krista now has seeds for sale. If there is enough interest we could do a group order which I would be happy to coordinate.
Here are Krista’s lastest seed descriptions. From this pdf file you can make choices about dry beans you would like to grow.
Also helpful are these photographs of the seeds also in a pdf file.
In 2008 Krista posted a detailed report on her first test year on the Whatcom Farmers Yahoo group discussion board.
She describes in much more detail (in a Word document) how the crops were grown, maintained and harvested. Very helpful in making decisions about specific seeds.
Master Gardener, Ginny Winfield, who coordinates the Gardener’s Network on Lummi Island would like to get Krista to the Island soon to put on a program for the group.
Finally, here’s an order form you can print to use to order seeds from the Back Yard Bean and Grain Project.