lorax wrote:On the beans front, 'Rattlesnake' pole beans (which are actually an edible-podded type) have stood up immensely well to the dry heat here in Ecuador's altitude desert, so they'd likely do quite well for you also. You can also try Favas and really any of the Latin American bean cultivars. (Frejol Pinto, Frejol de Fresa, Frejol Blanco, etc etc.)
I was going to say that in Latin America, it gets very hot and folks eat alot of beans down there. Pinto, black, white, etc. They must be hardy in hot weather. In fact, I don't think I can grow them successfully in Ohio due to the short season. It doesn't stay hot long enough.
Actually, beans are considered to be a "cool weather" crop here - they're generally grown in the highlands, where the weather is more similar to that of California. However, they do want a full 6-month growing season, which you up in Ohio don't have.
OP is in California, though, and they'll do just fine there - so, VJA, go on down to the grocery store and pick up some dried Mexican and Latin American beans from the produce section! Those normally sprout and grow just fine.