Origin: Paynesville, Minnesota
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~20
Germination tested 12/2021: 96%
Life cycle: Annual
Bred by the late Robert Henry Lobitz of Paynesville, Minnesota, 'Koronis Purple' is a favorite of EFN co-founder Dusty Hinz. Bob used to say "Beans are a poor man's jewels," and with the 'Koronis Purple' he created a true gem. With an intensely bright purple color, these beans are beautiful to look at, and make a wonderful dry kidney-type bean. We've found a few interesting rogues in our 'Koronis Purple' population — including shiny yellow beans and mottled purple and black beans — each a testament to the great diversity present in Bob's collection. If you find any particularly exciting rogues, be sure to let us know!
From what we understand, Koronis Purple was bred to be the ideal small-scale, homesteader's dry bean. This variety is very productive, and its bush habit allows for the ease of no trellis. A good portion of the beans will ripen uniformly, however, if you want to get every last bean, you may want to do a few rounds of harvesting, especially if lots of rain is in the forecast as pods start to dry. If you are looking to avoid all that bending over and make things a bit easier for yourself, there should be a sweet spot when you can pull the entire plant and get most of the beans all at once.
Dusty is particularly excited to be offering this variety, as it was developed in his current and home state: the land of 10,000 lakes (he also grew these in Minnesota this past year!). Dusty even has a little Koronis Purple anthem he sings, especially during harvest: just replace Sharona with Koronis in "My Sharona" by The Ramones. Dusty would eventually like to have a 'Minnesota' collection page in our seed store, so if you happen to know of any good Minnesota heirloom or Minnesota-bred varieties, please reach out and let him know.
NOTE: Through the years of growing this variety we have noticed a range in the shade of these beans (even in the same year), from very light purple to very dark purple. For a while we wondered if we were failing to keep the variety "true to type" by not being selective enough with the seed that we replanted with each year. However, we recently learned from another grower and gushing admirer of Koronis Purple that the shade of purple in this bean can be highly variable and almost certainly a result of an individual pods maturation in conjunction with the amount of rainfall that a given plant received that year.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed after danger of last frost, probably early to mid May, or as late as early to mid June. Rows could be a 12-16 inches apart, plants could be 4-8 inches apart. Harvest in waves as pods dry, or pull entire plants when most of the pods are dry, all the while watching the amount of rainfall as heavy rains can mess with drying pods.