Did you know there are literally thousands of varieties of beans? This makes it quite difficult narrowing down what to grow. I got half of the seeds from seed exchanges and the remainder by sifting through seed catalogs and choosing pretty looking dual or triple purpose beans. I surprisingly don't have any black beans planted but I've already started collecting seeds for next year and there will be at least one black one. Below is what I have growing this year:
Pellegrini (Monachine) - A rare Italian bean sold by The Herbfarm Restaurant as Pellegrini beans or E & M Seeds as Monachine. The small bean is mostly dark brown with varying amounts of white splotches. (pole, snap, shell or dry, 60-70 days to maturity)
Royalty Purple Pod - Obtained through a seed exchange. The flowers are purple and produce 5" stringless purple pods that turn green when cooked. (bush, snap, 55 days to maturity)
Speckled Cranberry - Organic seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. Vines produce 7-9" stringless pods until the first frost. The speckled cranberry bean and stringless pods are wide and tan with brown streaks which disappear when cooked. (pole, snap, shell or dry, 60-90 days to maturity)
Kentucky Wonder - Obtained through a seed exchange. This popular variety produces 8" long stringless beans for 3-4 weeks. It can also be found as a pole variety. (bush, snap, 65 days to maturity). Updated: Poor germination on these so reseeded with black coco beans.
Scarlet Runner - Obtained through a seed exchange. Produces beautiful edible scarlet flowers and huge lima bean like seeds that are violet purple mottled in black. If they taste like lima beans I may not grow them again! The young leaves are also edible. (pole, snap, shell or dry, 70-115 days to maturity)
Black Coco - Obtained through a seed exchange. Plants grow 22-24 inches tall. The shelled beans cook quickly and are good in soups or refritos. (bush, snap, shell, dry 60-86 days to maturity)