Zelma Zesta/Selma Zesta Pole Beans

aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. CanadaFebruary 3, 2010

I see there is thread on these beans but thought it better to start another.

Is anyone growing these? Does anyone have a photo of the seed? This is another bean that looks similar to my italian pole bean.

Better still does anyone know where I can buy these, would like to compare these to my italians.

I was given seed of my italians in 1965 from a neighbor who had grown them for many years, she in turn got them from someone else, the story goes these beans had been grown here on Vancouver Island since the early 1900's.


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Here are a few things I was able to find online.

A little history


    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 2:49PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Thanks Dean, I think I've seen these pictures in one of my searches trying to identify my beans, it's another bean that looks similar to mine. I would like to see a picture of the actual seed or better still acquire a few seeds to grow out for a better comparison.
From what I've read a Mr. Metze developed this bean by careful selection from beans he was growing. I know my beans have been grown here since the early 1900's but the history is just pass-a-long hearsay. You know how stories passed along can take on a life of their own.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 3:13PM
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aftermidnight ; I have grown the Selma Zebra some 10 years or so ago. I was not impressed.Productive but too tough as a snap bean unless picked very early. Got them from Vermont Bean. Almost round , average size pod, with purple striping. Pods are not very "meaty" which I demand in a snap bean. Speckled dry beans. Have not encountered the Zelma Zesta as such.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 4:28PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Here's pictures of my italian, still quite tender at this stage.
I don't want to give them a name if they are already a named variety.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 4:51PM
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Not to usurp a thread, but Park Seed was still well known in the Selma area 20 years ago even though they had discontinued operations several years earlier. There was absolutely no mystery to me why the beans were called Selma Zebra.

They went out of commerce because they are more typical of commercial beans than of the kind of beans home growers prefer.

Over the years, Park sold many seed varieties that were collected from gardeners. I still remember the Candelabra okra that was selected to produce lots of side sprouts making the resulting plant look somewhat like a branched candlestick. The company is no longer the business that it once was.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 5:03PM
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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

I have some Zelma Zesta from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange if
you would like to try some. The description said, Stringless pods, tasty
at any stage, seeds remain fairly small inside pods for a long period of
time, rattlesnake type, olive green speckled with purple.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:29AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

roper, you've got mail.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 12:08PM
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I was excited to see this post. I am Rodger Winn, better known as Rodger on the forum here. I am the grower of this bean for Southern Exposure Seeds. My wifes family is the devbeloper of this bean. My wifes Great Uncle Mr JC Metze developed this bean from a family bean in the 40-50s and sold the patent to Parks seed. Those that are members of Seed Savers Exchange can view pictures of this bean on the online catolog. Everyone else I will try to post a picture in the next couple of days. This is not the Selma Zebra, This is Zelma Zesta as Mr JC had it written when he gave me the seed but it was probably Selma Zesta listed in the Parks catolog. I was not able to find it listed in Parks since they did not retain all catologs and Mr Jc Metze told me it was in the 60s early 70s that it was listed. The bean is best used when pods are pencil size. It is very productive and produces reliably in the summer months here in South Carolina, a time when lots of other common beans fail. So it is a good varity for warmer areas good green bean flavor and very productive, can be tough and stringy if not picked when pods are young about pencil thickness and lenght. Rodger

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 8:43AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Hi Roger, all going well I hope to grow a sample of Zelma Zesta this spring, albeit a small sampling it will be big enough for a taste test and the rest I'll save for seed. I'm looking forward to trying your family heirloom.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 10:27AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Just thought I'd mention I found this tidbit when looking for something else, "Selma Zebra" is being reintroduced after 30 years of absence by Thompson & Morgan UK, not available over here yet. Looks like another heirloom is making it's way back into circulation.
I grew a sampling of Zelma Zesta last year but saved most for seed I found them to be quite tender and tasty when young, looking forward to having enough for a meal or two this year.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 6:51PM
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I have both so I took a pic. I also put a couple other beans on there for good measure. The closest to it size wise is Uncle Steve's as you can see. And please ignore the sloppy writing I was trying to do a couple things at the same time, lol.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 10:04PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I have all of the above except Jeminez, In my search I have acquired a few others to compare, they look similar to mine in the green bean stage but the seeds are all slightly different, if not quite different to mine.
Photos of Sema Zebra (a swiss variety?) in the green bean stage looks similar to mine but haven't found a photo of or have managed to get my hands on seed to compare.

In photos my italians look very much like an italian land race, local name 'Billo' especially the seed I saved from the half barrel where I had grown some of the almost solid colored beans that show up periodically, I have no idea what 'Billo' in the green bean stage looks like. It comes from the provence of Cuneo and is used as a dried bean, mine if my information is correct comes from the province of Udine, have no idea if it's any good as a dried bean we eat them as green beans. Sigh, I do ramble on at times LOL.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 6:46PM
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