2011 Selections for Steamy Southeast -- Thoughts and Advice?

iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)January 9, 2011

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.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Plant beans as early as you possibly can. The extra 2 weeks gained by early planting is often the difference between no crop and bumper crop. IMO, the Marengo is questionable. They are not very well adapted to heat.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)


Do you know of any good wax beans for the south? Bush, half-runner, or pole doesn't matter to me. I just need heat/drought tolerance and overall vigor.

I'll be ordering from Pinetree, Shumway, Jung, and Totally Tomatoes. For some reason I'm never satisfied with off the rack seeds from Wal-Mart or Lowes.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 12:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

heat, drought, and nutrient-deficient, nearly-pure quartz, sand soil are welcome.

Start loading up your soil with manure, compost, all kinds of organic matter and till it in, use plastic mulch if the soil dries out too quickly. Spray with Miracle Grow. Maybe then the varieties you have will do better.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

I had my soil analyzed and use the 8-8-18 fertilizer the results called for. We're severely deficient in potassium here -- my first year's beans looked like a textbook picture of potassium deficiency. :-D

The sun is much too intense for plastic mulch -- everything gets cooked if I use it between May and October. This same heat burns organic material out of the soil when I mix the compost in, but if I pile on 8-10 inches of leaves all over the garden in the fall there will still be enough leaves remaining to smother the weeds and retain water for the winter crops.

Unfortunately, it takes years and years to improve soil and I need my vegetables on the table ASAP. Thus the search for the toughest, most suitable varieties. :-)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 1:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have not yet found a good heat tolerant wax bean for the SouthEast. Many can be grown and will produce a partial crop. None so far have been in the ballpark of the performance of Rattlesnake as a comparison. The closest I've found is Neckargold which is still questionable in our climate.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

3KB, I have a pole wax bean from Serbia, "Tisa", that might make it there. It bore later than my other pole wax beans, in the heat of Summer. Contact me by PM if you would like to try it.

My summers here, while short, can be hot at times... and a thick layer of mulch around the beans really seems to help. I apply marsh hay 3-4" deep after the beans have developed their first true leaf. I wait until then because I found that applied too early, the mulch harbors slugs & insects which can damage the newly emerged seedlings. Try using green cut hay if you can find it, since it breaks down faster & will release some nutrients into the soil.

As a rule, I've backed away from recommending inoculant for Phaseolus beans, since my own trials of treated vs. untreated showed no significant difference. However, my main plot is on fertile silt loam, and research has shown that nodule formation is inhibited on rich soil. On poor soil, you might see some benefit.

For green snaps, you might want to try some of the pole Romano types, which seem to have better than average heat resistance. I could send you one, "Champagne", that demonstrated a good hot-weather pod set.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Thank you so much for the offer, zeedman. I'm afraid that I can't figure out how to send a private message though.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 1:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't really consider North Carolina in the "steamy south east". However most bush bean do well in the south east as early or late plantings. Pole beans can be tricky as a have a longer season that sometimes extends into summer. At one time Dade county florida was a major producer of pole snap beans for the commercial market. Varieties were McCaslan and Dade( devloped from McCaslan) Rattlesnake is pretty well known as a home garden bean. When temps climb into triple digits most P. Phaseolus quit.Only limas and cowpeas thrive in midsummer here. Yardlong/Asparagus beans are a varient of cowpea. Different texture and flavor than snapbeans, but they do thrive in the summer.
A version of Lazy Wife once sold by Shumway
Blue Peter
These are pole varieties that I grow here. Missouri Wonder and Kentucky Wonder also grow most of the time.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Thank you.

To a Yankee like me (PA growing up then MA as a newlywed), the NC piedmont is seriously steamy. :-D

I've had better luck so far with pole and half-runners than with bush beans -- perhaps the super-productive bush beans with their smaller, shallower root systems are more sensitive to the nutrient-poor, dry soil of the sandhills?

I know I can trust State Half-runner and the yardlongs and everyone agrees about Rattlesnake being good about drought. I'm still hoping for a wax bean because its a shame to not have a wax bean in the garden mix.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 5:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you tried a lima? You can probably grow a big one like King of the Garden.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi iam3killerbs -

I'm in middle GA, north of Macon, south of Athens. I also used to garden in Mass and gardening in the south is a whole 'nother adventure... :)

I love wax beans - I have had good luck with Rocdor - Johnnys and Parks sells them. They are not open pollinated, but they are so good, it's worth it. They are nearly perfect. They do not like the super hot days of mid-summer unless you can water, water... I have raised beds, so they dry out pretty quickly.

Thanks for the heads up on Royal Burgundy - if they won't grow for you, I'm probably doomed. I grew Helda/Hilda Romano with great success. And Rattlesnake was my best bean last year. I had both heat and soil issues, so the crop I got from both was late - I was still picking beans in November.

There's a Kentucky Wonder Wax - a pole wax. Not sure if it will do well in the south? I'd love to hear if anyone knows on that one. I'm putting in my seed orders today or tomorrow - Southern Exposure (they're not far from you), Johnny's, and PineTree (VT) who has a great selection with small seed packets - great to try a few before committing to large packs. :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Pinetree Seeds

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just for info. Rocdor is open pollinated. You can save seeds. I don't grow wax beans, but the old Cherokee Wax was the most popular wax bean in the piedmont of my youth. Southern States Cooperative focuses on the Mid Atlantic region (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina) They only carry varieties which do well in the region. The only wax bean they curently carry is Gold Rush.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Thanks for the additional info.

Of the 4 places I was planning on ordering seeds from, I can find Cherokee from Shumway and Rocdor from Jung. I don't have a southern states handy, but I can look for Gold Rush at the local farm supply place.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 1:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FarmerDill! You are my hero!

Thank you - I'm becoming "enlightened" and doing my best to switch to open pollinated and heirlooms when I can. I am thrilled to hear this! I assumed that it was hybrid because I didn't see specific information otherwise. (Don't assume, I know...)

Where do you get "Blue Peter"? I don't remember seeing that variety in my catalogs.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Someone sent me some years ago. I grow it out ever so often just to keep the seeds going. Not the tastiest bean around but it is reliable.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 2:14PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Interesting threads...
Searching for past posts isn't that easy, at least...
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada
seed germinate
Got some blackened pea seed in the bulk section a the...
black gandules
Hi, does anyone know where I can find black gandules?...
Marvel of Venice
I'd like to try a couple of plants of the yellow pole...
2015 Growing season
I've just been going through my stash making a list...
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada
Sponsored Products
PLC Lighting Ceiling Mounted Lighting 1-Light Ceiling Light Polished Brass
$48.00 | Home Depot
Sovet Italia | Jean Square Dining Table, 36-Inch
Shires Equestrian Waterford Full Cheek Bit - 572-5
$25.99 | Hayneedle
Soho Dark Grey Square: 6 Ft. x 6 Ft. Rug
$458.95 | Bellacor
Sunset Trading Oxford Glider Reclining Chair
Beyond Stores
Select Luxury New Life 4.5-inch Twin-size Memory Foam Sofa Bed Sleeper Mattress
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™