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- Phaseolus vulgaris - The common bean is among the very easiest of crops to grow. Snap bean varieties are tender and (mostly) stringless when young, while dry bean varieties are particularly productive when allowed to mature and fully dry. That said, any type of snap bean can also be used as a dry bean, and vice versa! 

A pretty incredible source of homegrown protein. In terms of farm-scale and community-scale food self-sufficiency, beans are hard to beat. 

Bush vs Pole: Beans can be broadly divided to these two categories based on growth habit. Bush beans are just that; they grow into self-supporting bushes. While pole beans need additional support; they'll twine up any trellis or stick they can get their vines on, often reaching 6-8' tall or more. Pole beans are undoubtedly more productive, but bush beans are less work and lend themselves better to scale. And then just to make matters less clear-cut; some varieties are semi-runners, with short vines and optional staking needs.