Variety Focus: Mayflower Dry Bean
Mayflower Dry Bean
What a gorgeous little dry bean! The burgundy color on one side fading to cream on the other is at once rustic and cosmic. Named such because it arrived in the Americas on the Mayflower in the 1620s, this bean also goes by the names 'Red Nightfall', 'Cutshort', and 'Cornfield'.
This pole bean did well in my field and was quite productive. The main downside to this variety is its lateness; the 110 days I had this in the ground were not enough for the whole crop to dry down. We have dry enough falls that I can leave my beans to dry down in the field, but when frost arrived I lost about 10% of the crop that had yet to dry. The beans which are not fully dry by the arrival of frost will be too damaged to keep and will introduce mold to your bean store. Being that these are pole beans, when I am waiting of the last of the pods to dry down I cannot simply pull or cut the whole plant and let the final maturing and drying down happen in a frost free location because the vine is intertwined with its trellis. If they were bush beans, I could easily hang the plants in the garage over a tarp. Instead, I have saved the seed from those plants which did mature, selecting for earliness for subsequent crops.