Dried beans have got to be one of my favorite things in the winter. I love bean soups. I love hummus made from any kind of bean. I love beans done in any Mexican fashion. Now as a garden crop they are really easy. I plant them and then just let them grow all season long until the pods are dry on the vine. But they aren't very productive. They take the bed for all season and the pounds per square foot is pretty small.
Green beans are different. I had a 5.5'x1' section of Kentucky Wonder green beans. They yielded just over two pounds of beans per square foot. Which for any gardening crop is fantastic. But my dried beans do well if they yield a third of a pound per square foot. And since I was trialing so many kinds, I don't expect to get that yield from much.
I don't start to weigh the beans until they are fully dried. Then I take a hammer out and smash a few of the beans. If they shatter they are done. If they smoosh they need more time. Then I stick them in my deep freeze for a few days. Drying them will make sure that the seed doesn't die while frozen. And freezing them makes sure any pest eggs that are on them die so my beans don't get eaten in storage.
So far I have three types that are dry enough to weigh. Cherokee Trail of Tears, Ottawa Cranberry, and Mexican Pinto. The first two yielded the expected third of a pound per square foot. They are my tried and true beans (originally from the Ottawa Gardener years ago). The Mexican pinto was just under half that. Since half of the vines died unexpectedly early on, it was to be expected. I'll keep them, but I thought the Ga Ga Hut pintos yielded more. I can't really tell though as only one Ga Ga Hut bean plant survived the unexpected cold spell in late May. I had enough Mexican Pinto beans to replant, but I had no extra Ga Ga Huts. In addition the beans of Ga Ga Hut are larger. I might do the same trial again next year. We will see. I might try a bush pinto instead.