harvesting kidney bean

Asked July 21, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT

My daughter brought home from school a kidney bean plant, which we planted in the garden. It is doing well and producing lots green pods. Planted at the end of school year. When should I harvest these beans?


3 Responses

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What fun that your daughter brought home a bean plant to tend and watch grow! You didn't say whether you wanted to harvest the seeds to eat, or whether you wanted to harvest a dry seed to plant again. Generally, kidney beans are allowed to mature to their deep red color and dry. You would harvest the pods when they dry and begin to split open. At that stage, the dry beans would be removed from the pods and stored dry until one wanted to use them in cooking, say perhaps add them to a batch of chili cooking on the stove. However, if your daughter wants to eat the beans fresh, you might harvest them as soon as the pods begin to dry a little, remove the beans from the pod, and cook them by steaming or boiling for a few minutes, and then try the bean with a little bit of butter and salt.
If you wanted to keep seed to plant next year, you would harvest the dry, mature seeds, place in a dry paper towel in a box or bag in the refrigerator and plant next spring.
I hope this answers your question. Enjoy your gardening,


Hi Nancy,

Thank you for the email. My daughter is excited to eat the beans. I have never grown kidney beans before and I did not know when to pick them. I am used to beans you pick while the pod is green. The kidney bean pods are still very green as you should be able to see from the attached picture. From your reply I gather that I should wait until the pods dry out or turn brown before I pick them to eat? We definitely want to eat them so we just want to know when they are ok to pick. Thanks for the recipes as well.


Your picture looks like a regular snap bean right now. If it was indeed a kidney bean seed that she planted, it should be harvested when mature and dry, and only the beans eaten, not the pods. Since you have a lot of pods, you may want to pick a couple when they are small, and cook and eat them like a regular green bean, pods and all. Then, your daughter learns that some beans are eaten as fresh vegetables, and some are called "dry beans" and harvested mature and stored dry until cooked or canned.