2011 Selections for Steamy Southeast -- Thoughts and Advice?
I've had trouble with beans here in the NC sandhills where we've been combining bad soil, humid air, blistering heat, and moderate to extreme drought (current condition moderate), for the 3 1/2 years I've lived here.
I had to give up on my favorite bush beans. Neither Dragon Langerie nor Royal Burgundy give me even a fraction of the heavy production I've been accustomed too. This year's selections all have vines. I don't know if pole beans are tougher in general or if larger plants equate to deeper roots in pursuit of elusive water, but this is what I've come up with:
Rattlesnake -- reputed to be drought tolerant. I raised it once in Massachusetts with indifferent results before I knew it was a southern bean.
State Half Runner -- Tried this 2 years ago then couldn't get it last summer. Wonderful flavor and grew vigorously a few yards away from the struggling Dragon Langeries.
Yardlong, the ordinary green one -- Great results last summer despite 6 weeks without rain. My DH begged me to grow twice as many this year.
Yardlong, Red Noodle -- I can never resist the red and purple varieties.
Marengo Romano Wax -- Uncertain about this and I'd switch to a different, southern-loving wax bean if someone had a recommendation.
And finally, another go at the Insuk Wang Kong runners. I've found a spot where they'll get sun for a few hours in the morning then heavy shade for the scorching hours. It they won't grow there then it will be no more runners unless I move north again.
Thoughts and advice from gardeners more experienced with heat, drought, and nutrient-deficient, nearly-pure quartz, sand soil are welcome.