The Beans Story

iPhoneOgraphy – 26 Jan 2016 (Day 26/366)

Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. Broad beans, also called fava beans, in their wild state the size of a small fingernail, were gathered in Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills. In a form improved from naturally occurring types, they were grown in Thailand since the early seventh millennium BCE, predating ceramics. They were deposited with the dead in ancient Egypt. Not until the second millennium BCE did cultivated, large-seeded broad beans appear in the Aegean, Iberia and transalpine Europe. In the lliad (8th century BCE) is a passing mention of beans and chickpeas cast on the threshing floor.

Beans were an important source of protein throughout Old and New World history, and still are today.

The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas were found in Guitarrero Cave, an archaeological site in Peru, and dated to around the second millennium BCE.

Most of the kinds commonly eaten fresh or dried, those of the genus Phaseolus, come originally from the Americas, being first seen by a European when Christopher Columbus, during his exploration of what may have been the Bahamas, found them growing in fields. Five kinds of Phaseolus beans were domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples: common beans (Phaseolus Vulgaris) grown from Chile to the northern part of what is now the United States, and lima and sieva beans (Phaseolus Lunatus), as well as the less widely distributed teparies (Phaseolus Acutifolius), scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus Coccineus) and polyanthus beans (Phaseolus Polyanthus) One especially famous use of beans by pre-Columbian people as far north as the Atlantic seaboard is the “Three Sisters” method of companion plant cultivation:

In the New World, many tribes would grow beans together with maize (corn), and squash. The corn would not be planted in rows as is done by European agriculture, but in a checkerboard/hex fashion across a field, in separate patches of one to six stalks each.

Beans would be planted around the base of the developing stalks, and would vine their way up as the stalks grew. All American beans at that time were vine plants, “bush beans” having been bred only more recently. The cornstalks would work as a trellis for the beans, and the beans would provide much-needed nitrogen for the corn.

Squash would be planted in the spaces between the patches of corn in the field. They would be provided slight shelter from the sun by the corn, would shade the soil and reduce evaporation, and would deter many animals from attacking the corn and beans because their coarse, hairy vines and broad, stiff leaves are difficult or uncomfortable for animals such as deer and raccoons to walk through, crows to land on, etc.

Dry beans come from both Old World varieties of broad beans (fava beans) and New World varieties (kidney, black, cranberry, pinto, navy/haricot).

Beans are a heliotropic plant, meaning that the leaves tilt throughout the day to face the sun. At night, they go into a folded “sleep” position.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+  

About The Inspiration Shots

My name is Tommy Too and I'm a newbie in photography and blogging. The intention of creating this blog is to share some of my work and to keep track the improvement of my photography skill. Nevertheless the most important thing is to getting feedback or comment from other professional photographer just like you.

Posted on January 26, 2016, in iPhoneOgraphy 366, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. As always, a very interesting and informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your pic reminds me of “three peas in a pod,” which brings to mind….tell me about the history of peas, please. Of course! The Indians are so savvy, planting beans next to the corn to accommodate the vine-ing effect Do farmers still do that?? No, I didn’t know beans are heliotropic! And I was raised on a small farm! I sure missed a lot, but….it’s never too late to learn! Thanks for your informative post!! You are welcome to visit my blog and enjoy my Australian adventures anytime!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gina, thanks for your kind comment and kindly wait for the next post about peas, since you seem like having interest on it. Btw I have been Gold Coast and Brisbane mid of last year and I do really like that place very much.


      • We went as workawayers and spent two months or our five months in AU. We went from Sydney to Wodonga to Mornington to Melbourne to Tasmania and back to New Zealand before returning to the States. We also loved AU! I look forward to learning about peas. Does the sweet pea flower fit in the mix somewhere? Just curious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow that’s wonderful. Sure I try to get more information for the peas.


      • Peas are special ’cause when I was little and growing up on a small farm, I had to create my fun. When Mom was shelling peas for dinner, I used to make peapod canoes by inserting short pieces of toothpicks in them for seats and then make peapod people to sit in them. Yes, more about peas, please!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s seem like a very interesting thing to play with, next time I try to teach my girl to make one, is fun.


  3. I had no idea about squash and corn reducing evaporation. That is so interesting. I wonder how many other secrets conventional farmers have forgotten. For instance, weeds are of great utility for organic farmers. Which species grow can tell the farmer what’s going on with the soil. If tamarisk is thriving, for example, it means the soil is full of salinity.

    Thanks for your informative post. I like that you let the reader draw conclusions from your information instead of shoving it down their throats. lol

    Liked by 1 person

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