Grandma's heirloom creaseback cornfield beans

virrasztoMay 24, 2007

I planted some of my grandma's heirloom creaseback cornfield beans and yeahhhhhh, they are looking good!

My grandpa gardened until he was 91 yrs old and since he's passed away now, it's the grandkids turn to keep our family been seed going.

These beans came from my grandma who was born in 1914. She got them from her mother who was born in 1883, who got them from her mother. They were all from Appalachia area of KY.

I sent some of these seeds ( lots of them!) to Bill Best two years ago, but so far I have not heard back from him. He was happy to get them.

Grandma just called 'em creasebacks. I can't wait until they are ready to pick!!

Here's a photo of them at about 11 days after planting.

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That is so cool! I wish someone in my family had saved seeds - my great-grandparents on my father's side were all gardeners until they died (or developed Alzheimer's in the case of one grandmother).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 7:58PM
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Hi, we planted, what are called 'genuine cornfild' beans wwith our corn & they are climbing up the stalks just as advertised. I wonder if they are related?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 1:19AM
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If you wanted to find out both of you should save seed this year and exchange samples. Then, next year, both of you grow both. Just be sure not to plant them together or get them mixed up. Keep notes on the plant, growing habits, days to flowering, to snaps and to seed; as well as size and appearance of both seeds and pods.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 6:58AM
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sunsi(z5 NY)

Hello, virraszto your post is fascinating and how lucky you are to have such a heritage!

I have a container garden this year but plan an inground garden next year. I am very interested in beans because of the way you can store this harvest for long periods of time. I want to know if you would ever consider sharing seeds from your valuable beans I would feel fortunate to have some, indeed. Thank you :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 2:43PM
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I use the beans as 'living mulch' & since they fertilize the garden & I dont want to bring in much matter from outside. I have bean finding southern pea varieties that are tasty like speckled peas, peanuts, black beans, crowder peas etc.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 3:38PM
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It could be Greasy Bean.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 6:34PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

what does crease back mean...I have always grown the standard off the rack beans that you see from so many racks...Ky wonders, Contenders etc...I am really getting into this bean thing and want to know as much as I can about the beans....jackman...exactly what is a greasy bean?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 7:32PM
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It is a old time green bean that has a shinny skin.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 11:11AM
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Creaseback refers to pod shape. basicly a round fat pod that is wider than deep resulting in a "crease" down the string line. Greasy refers to the appearnce of the pod so you can hve a greasy creaseback type. Greasy tends to appear shiny. The creaseback types are popular and there are many cultivars both ancient and modern.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 12:16PM
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I thought I would share a photo of my beans. I planted them with the corn like my grandparents always did. They are supposed to grow up the cornstalk and wrap around them. My beans grew much faster than my corn, so I had to get some wood stakes for them to grow up. I've never seen them grow so high! They are just getting beans on them now and I can't wait until I have enough for a mess of beans!

To the person who wanted bean seeds. You can send me your address, but I have to be honest, I am such a procrastinator, it might take months before I get around to sending them.

Bill Best described these as greasy,striped, cutshort, creaseback, cornfield beans, if I recall correctly.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 11:55AM
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Here's a photo of the actual seeds next to a penny.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 12:15PM
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Looking good!

One thing that often seems to happen when folks, these days, plant beans on corn, is that they use SWEET CORN, which is usually neither tall enough nor strong enough to support beans. Another common problem is that of not giving the corn enough of a head start. I usually don't plant beans on our corn until the corn has been hilled for the first time and is about a foot tall.

We grow Mesquakie Indian Corn, which we obtained from Sandhill Preservation Center. It's nice, tall & sturdy. Makes great corn meal and grits, but isn't sweet.

Those beans look great! Congratulations!

Moments before writing this I just finished canning 6 more quarts of our family's heirloom bean.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 4:03PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

George do you all eat the corn...I think the sweet corns are very good but my folks always grew regular corn and I like a corn that isn't all sweet...

I have never had much luck growing sweet corn and using corn for beanstalks was a you beans outgrew the corn ....I am sure it was sweetcorn though...I'll remember that advice.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:36AM
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Yes, we eat this corn, even in the milk stage, as roasting ears. Our family spent 14 years in Mexico, and down there sweet corn was nearly unheard of. We got used to corn on the cob that wasn't particularly sweet. We also use this corn for cornmeal and grits.

I've heard that along with the gene(s) for sweet you get a gene for weak stalks. Sometime just look at a patch of sweet corn, in comparison with field corn. The sweet corn looks wimpy.

When we moved here to Oklahoma, which is known for having some wind, I asked Glenn and Linda Drowns, of Sandhill Preservation Center, if they could recommend a corn that would stand up to wind and work well for beans. They have an extensive collection of open pollinated corns. They sent me the names of three:

Mesquakie Indian
Glenn Beasley Red
Blue Clarage

I chose the Mesquakie because it has multicolored kernels. We've been very pleased with it, and it makes fabulous cornbread. I wish I could find the battery charger for our camera, so I could post a picture of Tennessee Cutshort climbing in the corn!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 7:26AM
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I would love to swap with you for some of those bean seeds. I tried to find your email but it wasn't listed. You can email me at if you get this.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 1:10PM
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