I found a source at http://www.allgreektome.net/ and click through to their ebay store. This is the true runner bean Gigandes.
Dar, congrats on the find, I think this bean may be one that is sold under different names, thus the confusion. I grew one "Samos Greek Lima", it's not a Lima it's a runner originally from Greece (Gigantes).
Drloyd has one called "Bond's Orcas Lima" if I remember correctly it's a runner too. It will be interesting to see if these two are similar to yours.
Dar I was not able to find the bean at that link. There is a thread on Gigandes linked to below.
It seems that in Europe Gigandes by law is a runner bean. Very large limas are also sold under that mame in the USA.
The largest bean that I have grown is the runner Bianco di Spagna with shellies up to 1.75 inches long. I have wondered if this is the same as Gigandes.
Here is a link that might be useful: Gigandes Confusion
I found this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/Organic-White-Kidney-Bean-25-Seeds-Greek-Heirloom-/330584430525 is this the same one?
Gigantes/Gigandes/Yigandes/Hija, from what I've read seem to be different names for the same bean. Darn you Dick, now I've got to get some Bianco di Spagna, my curiosity has to be satisfied.
Do a direct search on Ebay for (gigandes,yigandes) and you will find the auction link.
If anyone wants some, I will ship 20 beans for $4 in the U.S. I have enough to make up 2 more packs of 20.
Annette, if you want some, PM me with an address. I owe you some seed for the Comtesse di Chambord you sent me.
I had to look again to figure out what happened. They revised the website sometime in the last week. If you see my original directions, I said to click through to the ebay store. The link is at the upper left on the webpage. When you click on the ebay store link, you will see the gigandes beans.
Dar, message sent :).
I was unsure too which were Gigandes beans, so during my winter stay in Greece this year I got some seeds from a seed store in a market in Monasteraki Athens, I soaked a couple that were a little on the small side, but my Hotel Owner I have known for several years is also a gardener and assured me they are Gigandes. I Gave some to family and friends in England in case customs wouldn't let them through in the USA. So being a resident Alien, I can't afford to break the law especially for seeds, I declared them and my Vlita (A Greek green related to Amaranth also known as Notch Weed) and of course the 2kg of Cheese from the Nederlands. No problem so they're soaking now ready to plant into pots until the danger of frost is over. I'll post a photo later of the seeds with a tape measure beside.
Dar, I started a few of the Gigandes you sent me in the greenhouse, good germination and great looking plants, one bean sprouted 3 shoots.
I planted them out a couple of days ago and they're looking good, soil temp in this sheltered spot has been hitting 60* during the day I've been covering them with remay at night, so far they're lookin' good :).
I have a row 100 feet long with maybe 75 beans growing. I planted them one bean at a time about 18 inches between seed in the row. They are looking very good so far.
So are they runner beans? Limas?
Dick, they are runners.
Annette I will be interested to hear how they do there. At the rate you are going, you should be harvesting them in July!
This summer I have settled on Bianco de Spagna or "Italian Butter Bean" for my runner. When I grew them before they did very well here and the shellies were by far the biggest I have ever seen at up to 1-3/4 inch long. - Dick
Well, I can only grow two runners for seed, and oddly enough, all of the neediest candidates this year were white seeded.
"Bianco de Spagna" is planned for my rural plot. If shamrocks are supposed to be lucky, this has been just the opposite... I haven't been able to get it in the ground for the last two years!!! Hopefully the bad mojo has worn off, because I hope to grow it in quantity this year. Based upon Drloyd's recommendation, I'm looking forward to trying it. They will be in several locations, so I'll start them in pots to guarantee a better stand.
I really want to grow "Gigandes" this year, but my other white-seeded runner ("Grammy Tilley") is badly in need of renewal. My head tells me to go with "Grammy Tilley", but my heart tells me "Gigandes"... as several posters here know, I've been hunting for the real "Gigandes" for many years. I'll start them both in pots, and plant whichever comes up best in my suburban plot. The suburban location usually misses the first 1-2 frosts, and I suspect "Gigandes" might need the extra time.
The "Gigandes" are exceptionally large, but not substantially larger than "Bianco de Spagna". Both of my samples were grown in different locations, so it will be interesting to compare them head-to-head in the same climate. Dooh! Sounds like I just made up my mind (sorry, Grammy). ;-)
I planted some Gigandes from Harry last weekend along with a bunch of other pole and limas. I fell in love with the marinated bean dish that is featured at our Kroger's "Mediterranean Olive Bar" - I have succumbed twice now and bought some. Oh. My. The description on the card says they are "Gigandes" beans. Not sure that is true, but in any case, they are very yummy. Hoping I get a good stand of beans to make some of my own!
I planted 10 of the beans Dar sent me, started in the greenhouse March 23, all sprouted by March 29, planted out on April 14. The slugs thought they were going to have a smorgasbord so I put down some copper mesh, they especially liked the bean with 3 shoots they had a good munch on it, it's a little slower than the rest but it's starting to climb now. We're still getting a fair bit of rain and overcast days with a few sunny days thrown in.
I'm still dropping the remay over them at night just in case we get a late frost. They'll be fiddly to pick on the lattice panel but as I'm leaving most for seed I'll just snip the vines when the time comes, how's that for thinking positive :).
Here is the timeline so far.
2012/04/04 - Planted 80 beans in a row roughly 120 feet long with about 18 inches between seed in the row.
2012/04/13 - About 2/3 of the beans have germinated, they are vigorous and growing fast.
2012/04/26 - I put up the trellis today. There are runners up to 2 feet long already. Need to spray to prevent bug damage.
2012/05/05 - Runners are nearly at the top of the trellis. They are growing fast with warmer weather and reduced pest pressure.
2012/05/10 - About half of the runners have reached the top of the trellis and are trying to go higher. Blooms are on about 1/3 of the plants.
2012/05/12 - I tilled the beans and weeded them. Cool wet weather has been ideal for their growth. Note, "cool" means 80 degrees or so as compared to the 90's we had recently. Some of the flowers appear to have set so I would expect mature beans in a couple of months.
Our warm weather has finally arrived, I said warm low 70's not hot, 80 degrees would have me whining and hiding in the house. The Gigandes are slowly climbing the lattice, no flowers in sight but this spurt of warm weather should give them a boost.
I have lots of flowers starting to form on the short row I planted. The leaves look healthy enough but they're light green in color and not overly big. Also there's lots of space between the leaves is their nature or maybe I should give them a bit of fertilizer? They're in full sun.
Mine are still a light green color, especially when compared to the lima beans growing nearby. They will get darker green if you give them some nitrogen, but they will still be lighter than other beans.
I have bean pods up to 4 inches long with 3 visible beans inside.
Well, you are all ahead of me, I just got my Gigandes in last week. Hey, give me a break, I'm in the Frozen Tundra up here. ;-)
The good news (especially after last year) is that I actually got them in! I'm using the same 18" spacing as Dar. No sign yet, but some of my soybeans are emerging, and they were only 3 days earlier.
There are beans up to 6 inches long now. A few of them have up to 5 seed. Most have 3 seed.
Beans are filling out nicely in the pods. The plants are healthy and still forming racemes of flowers and setting new beans. The load of beans per plant is relatively low but looks like there will still be plenty to pick in a couple of months.
No beans on the Gigandes yet, one or two are loaded with flowers, others are just starting to form flowers. So far June has been overcast, lots of cool days and yesterday it poured. Today looks blahhhhhh.
All the other beans I planted are looking good, looks like we're going to have another year like last year. I'm sure glad I planted my tomatoes in the greenhouse, first time doing this and am happy to say they are lookin' good :).
The first few flowers aborted but I'm happy to say I can now see some tiny beans forming.
We have a big difference in seasons Annette. I have green mature beans on my plants. I checked them a few days ago and have lots of mature pods that are just getting ready to turn colors and dry down.
"We have a big difference in seasons..."
You said a mouthful, Dar. Mine just started to climb, the vines are only 24" tall at present. I just laid mulch down around the plants, which always seems to kick bean growth into overdrive.
In spite of my shorter season, I've got plenty of heat in just the right amounts, and everything in my garden is growing furiously right now.
I have dry Gigandes beans ready to pick. The pods are fully dry, the seed are still a bit soft but drying fast with the heat and lack of rain.
I would appreciate it if one of you would measure the length of the fresh shellies. So far, Bianco di Spagna is the largest shelly that I have seen at up to 1-3/4 inch long. - Dick
Dick, The longest so far is 1 7/8 inches, the average is about 1 1/2 inches, the smallest normal bean is an inch long. I have seen pics of beans that were over 2 inches but they seem to be rare.
Woohoo, the weather "experts" if you can believe them say we're finally heading for normal summer temps, tomorrow it's going to start warming up and should be around 84F by sunday.
Other than the 'Shiraz' peas where we had a bumper crop everything seems to be in limbo, the warm weather should shake things up a bit. I have lots of tiny beans on the Gigandes now maybe they'll get cracking.
How about you Dick, are you in the same boat as me weather wise?
Well, my weather changed too. Had ten minutes of 1" hail yesterday, which shredded everything green on my property, including my home gardens. Unfortunately, that is where I had planted Gigandes.
The irony is that I planted Gigandes at home because it is safer from frost there than it would be in my rural plot. Obviously, I neglected to consider the possibility that ice might fall from the sky on a 90 degree day. :-( I've already had frogs, and flies... makes me feel like Yul Brynner, wondering who I should be setting free before the next plague.
The plants are not completely dead, but it remains to be seen if they will recover in time to produce seed. At the very least, their development has been set back by several weeks.
The good news is that my preservation plot, where I grow most of my seed crops, is safe. It is 6 miles away, and was spared the brunt of the storm. It only has a little wind damage, and is actually better off for the drenching rains it received. Much of the state is still bone dry.
So very sorry you incurred so much damage Zeedman, especially after you having an early start for a change. 1" hail we've never had anything near that size up here, thank goodness your preservation plot was spared. Hopefully things will spring back and it won't be a complete loss.
Yesterday afternoon I walked out to the greenhouse, no sooner in the door then the heavens opened up and the rain came down in buckets. Thankfully it only lasted 10 minutes my garden would have been in big trouble if it had lasted any longer. Can't do anything until it dries up a bit but the beans seem to be hanging in, time will tell. "THEY" say that's the last of it and today is the turning point good weather is on the way, I sure hope so enough is enough.
So sorry to read about the hail Zeedman. We had a brief round a hail earlier this year and fortunately it didn't do much damage to anything, but I worried quite a bit during the storm. Hope your garden recovers quickly!
Zeedman, I was so sorry to hear about the hail.
Annette, most days and nights in June were below normal. The only beans that are looking robust are the Bianco de Spagna. Summer days (at or above 75F)are forecast to start tomorrow. - Dick
Glad to hear that your weather is warming up, Annette. It seems like everything has been bottled up this year, with very little of our normal west-to-east flow... what was cool stayed cool, what was hot stayed hot. Wish I could send you some of our heat, it's 97 F. degrees as I write this, and predicted to hit 100 degrees tomorrow. That doesn't happen often here, its been over 15 years since we last hit 100. The cowpeas & soybeans are loving it, the beans & peas not so much.
I harvested about 2 gallons of dry beans still in the pods yesterday. This is very low production for a bean, but is typical for runner beans in the deep south. Bean quality is variable with some beans nothing but flat husks and others nicely filled pretty white beans. A few show insect damage which I would have rated as very low based on my observation of insects on the plants.
When the warm weather arrived the Gigandes vines took off, it's one big tangle of vine, flowers and beans at the top of the trellis, the bottom and middle looks sparse, no branching down low at least not yet. If I wasn't saving all for seed we could probably try some in the green bean stage. I imagine they can be picked and cooked the same way I do all the other runners I've grown. It's going to take another month or so for seed here but it looks like another bean that will do well here as long as we get a decent growing season.
We have not had a "normal" spring since 2009 so if this is going to be the new norm it looks like I'll be starting all my beans in the greenhouse from now on.
I was in a small Greek market today and bought these beans packed in Greece. The clerk said they are Gigandes. Anyone out there read Greek? Is it likely these are the real Gigandes? These beans measure about one inch wide.
The package does indeed read gigandes beans. I have the same package that I just brought back from Greece. I also brought an unmarked package of the same beans from a farm stand in Greece. I was hoping that I would be able to germinate the beans as well as eat them. The farm stand beans did not germinate...I assume they are treated to not sprout. Today I opened the packaged beans with the label that you show in your photo and am doing a test germination. Will have to wait and see what happens. Love the beans, hope they sprout.
Please post your germination results. For me, the time to plant is in two or three weeks - then again in February.
The seeds in the package from Greece germinated! I placed beans between moist paper towels and they sprouted in 4 days. At this point they have 1/2 inch long roots. I guess I will plant out tomorrow and see what happens. May not be enough time this season to get beans but at least I know that I can try them next year.
Thanks ukelady. That is good news. I'll try planting some in six weeks or so. Anybody close to Tampa Bay can find these seeds in Tarpon Springs; a little grocery/deli on Antares Blvd.
Update.... All of a sudden the Gigandes have taken off, I spent more than a couple of minutes pulling vines out from underneath the roof of the shed where their trellis is. Talk about top heavy, vines are snaking out and grabbing onto everything within their reach. Loads of flowers but with the temps. approaching 90 I don't know if these will set but I do see some paper wasps working them. The leaves finally look good they don't look anemic anymore. A big change from the first pics I posted. Although they don't show up there's loads of flowers. Annette
Anyone make bean dip with Gigandes.
Just an update...
I am happy to report that the majority of the plants in my home gardens have fully recovered from the hail, including "Gigandes". The constant warmth & sunlight - along with plenty of TLC - gave them the strength to put out new runners. They now look similar in size to the vines in Annette's photo, and have been flowering heavily. The blossoms were just dropping off, but now that we have a few days in the 70's, pods are beginning to set.
Still about 6 weeks left before my average frost date, I'm crossing fingers that this will be enough time to get mature seed. A late Fall wouldn't hurt either.
Well, I've never seen anything like this in my life, after a slow start, flowers aborting due to a hot spell at the wrong time, these beans have taken off, (Kudzu comes to mind) they're reaching out and latching onto anything within their reach. There are a few beans mature enough for seed that I can see, I'm hoping there's more I just can't see them under the jungle of leaves. Right now there's flowers galore and loads of beans forming I'm hoping they taste just as good as the 'Salmos Greek Lima' runners did in the green stage.
Crossing my fingers seems to have worked so far. There were several early frosts here, and the rural garden was "frost pruned"; but my home garden had minimal damage. The forecast now is upper 60's - low 70's for the next 10 days, and mostly sunny... great bean ripening weather. I harvested the first 5 dry seeds from "Gigandes" in the last few days, and there are many fat pods remaining. It appears I'll get enough seed to attempt a major increase next year, under (hopefully) better conditions. I'll start them in pots next time!
We had a light frost on 9/12 but no apparent damage.
Zeedman and Annette, the Bianco di Spagna shellies are often 1-1/2 inch long with some at 1-3/4 inch. That is the largest shelly that I am aware of. It would be great if one of you would measure some Gigandes shellies to see if they are as "gigande" as Bianco de Spagna. - Dick
Dick, earlier on I had one small dry bean it had two seeds, dry the larger one was one and a quarter inches. Hopefully I'll come back with more results later, fingers crossed the weather holds, the next couple of weeks look promising.
If the dry seed was an inch and a quarter long, the shelly may be even larger than Bianco di Spagna. I have noticed that Bianco di Spagna requires a longer growing season than the slightly smaller Bond's Orcas Lima.
Some of the really big white seed runner beans such as Bianco de Spagna, Delucci Cannellini and Cannellini Gigante are more difficult to grow here. - Dick
With the season-ending freeze approaching tonight, I picked all of the "Gigandes" pods. I'm happy to say that I ended up with about 100 good dry seeds, which will be used next year to further increase the seed, and maybe share a few. Not a bad showing, considering the plants had to re-grow after the hail & wait for the heat to break before setting pods.
There was also a pretty good mess of shellies, which DW cooked up while I was working, bless her heart. About half of those were fully mature, and HUGE. I'll try to post a photo before they are all eaten... which means I'd better hurry.
Having been less than fond of the other runner bean shellies I've tried, I was hoping for better - and was not disappointed. The flavor is really good. They don't have the "gamey" flavor I've experienced from other runner beans, and the skin is thin & tender.
I've been searching for this bean for years, and the search was worthwhile: it can be grown here successfully, and it's a keeper. Thanks, Fusion, for sharing your seed so generously.
There were already some "Soissons Vert" and "Bird Egg #3" shellies cooked up in the fridge, so I threw some in a bowl along with some of the "Gigandes", mixed them up with a little 'baby rays' barbeque sauce & heated them. Wow!!! I'm in bean-lover's heaven right now.
Our weather has finally turned but we've had a good long run. I went out this morning and found several handfuls of dried pods underneath the tangle of vines, probably more I just have to find them. These are the only beans still in the garden, where they're planted they are quite protected so they're being left as long as possible.
There's lots at the shelly stage so a question.... I want to freeze most of them so blanch them 3 minutes in boiling water or can I steam them?
The immature beans aren't going to amount to anything now so I'll french and steam, this is the way we eat most runners, waste not want not.
Zeedman, did you happen to measure any of the shellies? So far the longest Gigandes shelly reported has been 1.5 inches. - Dick
Just brought some more in, the longest for me so far... 2 at 1&11/16", a few 1&10/16's lots of 1&1/2's and of course smaller, I'm just measuring the ones that look long to me, some are fatter than others. If I find any that are longer I'll let you know.
Thank you Annette. Your two largest ones are within 1/16 inch of the largest Bianco di Spagna that I have measured. Well within my possible measuring error as I did not use a precision measuring device. I wonder if they are two names for the same bean. - Dick
Dick, I've never grown Bianco di Spagna so can't compare. When cooking dinner tonight I threw a shelly in the veg pot, after zeedman saying how good they were I was chopping at the bit to try them. I plucked it out of the pot, cut it in half and dipped in Becel DH and I sampled it, what can I say, food for the gods. The shellies I've tasted to date have been good but this one outdoes them all. I haven't tried the Somas Greek Lima as a shelly just in the green stage, they might very well be the same bean but would have to grow them both to properly compare. Now this is what I call a handful of beans :).
Wow! These posts really have me going. So much food from one plant! I was so fired up I checked my Seeds of Diversity directory and found Soissons Gros Blanc a Rame. Said to be the largest bean grown in France, thin skinned. I sent for them today - we'll see what we get.
Also found on line Samos Greek Lima "Fassolia Gigantes" - phaseolus coccineus and ordered that. Can't wait until spring to get these planted!
aftermidnight - I'm a Canadian too - any chance of a bean or tomato seed trade for a few of those beans? 3 or 4 would be plenty. Please PM me. Thanks.
Also found on line at Two Wings Farm, Samos Greek Lima "Fassolia Gigantes" - phaseolus coccineus and ordered that. Can't wait until spring to get these planted!
aftermidnight - I'm in Ontario - any chance of a heritage bean or tomato seed trade for a few of those gorgeous beans? 3 or 4 would be plenty. Please PM me. Thanks.
Hi Lobo, glad to oblige :). The picture of the beans in my hand are in the shelly stage will be somewhat smaller when they have dried down. I'll try emailing you right now, unfortunately it hasn't been working as of late.
Hi Lobo. One summer a few years ago I trialed a number of runner beans, not realizing that they cross easily.
If you grow grow more than one, you may not be able to save pure seed. I can grow only one per year. - Dick
Thanks, Dick. I know that about runner beans, misspoke, I guess. It must be hard to keep to just one per year. So many beans, so little time.
Maybe save seed every other year, but it's no fun unless there's seed!!!
My wife just brought these back from the Lake District of Chile. There they are called "pallares", lima beans. They are a mix of about 85% white and the rest very dark speckled and not as large. The white seeds are about an inch long, almost as long as the gigandes I got in a Greek market. But, they are a lot fatter. If anyone in a cool climate wants to try them, I could send a few seeds.
My wife also brought back some scarlet runners from that area. Those seeds run from pink/tan to almost black. If anyone is interested, I can post a photo. Also available to share.
Shuffles, the darker beans appear to be runner beans... and the white ones could be runners as well. The "fatter" description you mentioned seems to back that up. If you plant those seeds, observe the seedlings. For limas, the cotyledons will emerge from the ground; the cotyledons remain underground for runner beans.
I have a wonderful pole bean from Chile, "Isla", which I grew this year. It is similar to "True Red Cranberry", but has seeds that are slightly smaller, and more purple than red. Really great flavor, but it is very late, and never has time here to give me more than a handful of dry seed before frost. Many beans from South America are daylength sensitive, and bear poorly in the temperate latitudes. Hopefully your beans don't suffer from that affliction.
zeedman, those beans were a local variety grown in the Lake District of Chile at about -40 latitude. Madison, Wisconsin is at 43; not much different. That is why I offered them to cool climate gardeners. I am at 28 degrees and may be too far south for these beans. The attached photo is of a bean purchased at a local street market. It is also very likely a local variety from the Lake District. These beans run from 5/8" to 7/8" long.
Dick, I just finished shelling the rest of the Gigandes, one, just one measured 1 3/4" that was my largest. I'm hoping some of these shellies are mature enough for seed the rest we'll eat. I have enough completely dry seed to do me 3 or 4 years but a few more wouldn't hurt. I'm going to grow this one again next year mainly for the shellies.
Thank you for the report, Annette. So Gigandes and Bianco di Spagna have the same maximum shelly size it appears. I can get a lot more beans off of the Bond's Orcas Lima vines but perhaps the later ones are worth growng too. - Dick
I never did get around to taking a photo of the cooked beans before they were eaten. However, I noticed something odd. When reheated, the beans tasted much different than when they were fresh cooked... I found the flavor to be unpleasant. Not sure if they were spoiling, or if that is a normal characteristic of this variety. I'll find out when I grow them again next year.
Zeedman, does this mean that blanched and frozen shellies might have an unpleasant flavor? I do recall enjoying other large white runner shellies more fresh rather than frozen.
And do you have enough dry seed to soak a few and cook them? I wonder how the flavor would be.
"Zeedman, does this mean that blanched and frozen shellies might have an unpleasant flavor? I do recall enjoying other large white runner shellies more fresh rather than frozen."
I certainly hope not. That will be something I plan to test in a small batch next year, before doing anything large scale. It may be that they are better canned than frozen... which may motivate me to finally purchase the pressure cooker I've been considering for several years. That would probably lead me to begin canning other beans as well, and I kind of like that idea. :-)
As I mentioned above, I ended up with about 100 good seeds, which are reserved for planting & a few limited trades. I don't yet have enough to try cooking the dry beans.
Oh, and I never posted my final observations of "Bianco de Spagna". A few of the plants just barely hung on, and finally in late summer put out some new growth & bloomed. There was no chance of getting dry seed that late, but I did pick some shellies before frost. The skin turned green when cooked, and I enjoyed them. I don't know if turning green when cooked is normal, or if it because they were picked immature. I actually hope it is normal, because that would indicate an observable difference between the two varieties.
Zeedman, I blanched a few Gigandes and froze them, the immature ones did turn green. As to taste after frozen, haven't tried them yet, but fresh shellies steamed with a bit of Becel are delicious more so than any other runner I've tried this way. Frenched and steamed has been the preferred way we've eaten runners until now. I have just enough frozen gigandes shellies to try a pan of 'Gigantes Plaki' down the road :).
Zeedman and Annette, I have noticed with other very large seed white runner beans that the less mature seeds do turn green when cooked. - Dick