2008 Legume Reports

fliptx(Houston 9)March 13, 2008

It's warmed up enough here to start planting beans. Yay!

Insuk's Wang Kong have been in the ground for weeks, but they faced a setback in the form of several high-wind storms and heavy rains. They lost a lot of leaves but I think they'll bounce back.

Yesterday I put in some Gold Mine, Jumbo, Fortex, Dragon Tongue and Rattlesnake. The latter two are new to me.

Who else has started planting?

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I can't start beans until the first week of April at the earliest. Last year we had an unseasonably warm spell (three weeks or more) starting in March, so I planted early, and ... wham! we had a week of night time temps in the 20s!

I will get both Insuk's Wang Kong and Barksdale Wax Pole beans in as early as I can, as both prefer the cooler moister temps.

I have half my peas in now. Hopefully I can get the other half in tomorrow.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:12PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

Last year I was harvesting my first beans around the middle of April, but we kept having cool spells this time. I had planned to start one planting at the end of Feb, one at the beginning of March, and one in the middle of March. But they're pretty much all going in now, so in a few weeks I'm going to be inundated with beans all at once.

Not that I'm complaining, of course.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 8:58PM
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I ordered my pole limas today for the summer garden, and a new variety of yard and a half long beans. Still eating Kentucky Wonder pole beans from the winter garden.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:21PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Still a foot of snow here... quit rubbing it in guys! ;-)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 1:06AM
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Where does one find seed for Insuk's Wang Kong? I've looked on the web, but, can't seem to locate the seed. Thank you, in advance, for your help.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:51PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

GW username Jwr6404 is the original source for "Insuk's"; he would probably be happy to share some with you. Several other members (including myself) offer seed for it, both here, and through SSE.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 11:07PM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

zeedman is right,I would be happy to send you some seed. PM me with your address and quantity you need. Don't worry about the postage.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:11AM
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I planted some bush green beans a few days ago---Tendergreen and a Burpee hybrid(I forgot the name). We had a good soaking rain last night. I hope they pop up in a few days.
I'll plant McClaskin(spelling?) and Rattlesnake pole beans next week.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:52PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

Boy, when beans start growing, they really don't waste any time. I had been worriedly watching my plants, which hadn't grown much since sprouting because of lingering cool weather and overcast days. But with a few warm, sunny days, they've really started taking off. I swear the Fortex plants have grown six inches since yesterday.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 1:33PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

I planted a Contender, Tema and Pencil Pod Black Wax a couple of weeks ago. Then the weather cooled off, and they're just now popping through. Some of them don't look real happy. The soil is not ideal, and with the weather, they are not starting off life in a coddled state.

I started some Fortex, Helda, Smeraldo, Musica and Kwintus pole beans indoors (will transplant very young) even though most pole beans don't do well in our very hot weather, come June. Should have started them a little earlier. But I only started a few of each variety. Should be an interesting trial.

I did a trial for heat-tolerant bush beans a few years ago, and Brio won. It also did well in fall here. Matador and Festina perform similarly. Espada is grown commercially near here. I'll put in Espada, Romanette and Romano Gold, maybe some Maxibel this week and Festina a couple of weeks later. Forget runner beans in our territory, except maybe in fall. Soybeans will go in for summer, and Fordhook 242 lima for fall harvest (they will grow here in the heat, but will not set until fall).

Some of the varieties of beans popular in New England, like Bountiful and Provider, are disasters here. Contender typically does very well here in spring, and is my mother-in-law's favorite stringless bean, as it tastes "like a bean - not just green". But it gets fibrous (not stringy) in cool fall weather when the beans grow more slowly.

The snap peas are producing well now, and it lookd like the weather will hold for them, for a little while.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 3:59PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I have little inch-long pods on some of my snap bean plants now. Yay!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:41PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

Is anyone picking beans yet? My first Jumbos will be ready tomorrow. Gold Mine and Dragon Tongue will be next week, I think.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 10:51AM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I blanched and froze a couple pounds of Gold Mine and Jumbo beans today. It's been so hot here lately, and I wasn't able to get seeds into the ground till late, so I was worried that I wouldn't get enough to put up for the summer. But it looks like I've got another couple pounds' worth on the plants, and while it's not as much as I would like, at least I have the September planting to look forward to.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 7:24PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

It looks like the snap beans are done for the season. It's been very hot lately, in the mid-90s, and the few pods that do set are very runty. But my Christmas limas are doing great. How do you know when it's the right time to harvest for fresh shelling? Obviously some time after the pods fill, but before they dry up...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 11:28PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I've been getting the garden ready for planting the past two days. Weather here is perfect for garden work, in the 60s every day, sunny, breezy and beautiful. Beans will get planted within a few days.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 11:00AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

The differences between regions never cease to fascinate me. The bean season is winding down for you, FlipTx, when Jimster & I are just getting ready to plant. It's been so cool & wet here this Spring that I just finished tilling my garden yesterday. Believe me, I'm chomping at the bit.

Maybe we should set up "garden time-shares" around the country, to spread the joy throughout the year. :-)

This year, I could list my beans... but not many would be recognizable. They are mostly heirlooms acquired through seed swaps, or through SSE. I'll provide more detail as the season progresses. Only a few are repeats, some of my favorites...
"Galante" and "Sierra Madre" yardlongs
"Buff" adzuki
"Yellow Mungo" (a green gram from the Philippines)
"Tengamine" & "Sapporo Midori" soybeans
"PI 507984" bush beans (a shelly)

This was the first year ever that I purchased no bean or legume seed. While I will continue to trial new varieties, I am now self-sufficient for legumes... except for winged beans, which do not have time to mature in my climate.

FlipTx, the limas are ready to shell when the pod begins to change color. If my memory serves me (it's been 15 years since I last grew them) "Christmas" pods begin to show some yellowing. This color change was not as pronounced for me as it was for other limas, such as "King of the Garden" and "Carolina". At the proper stage - just before drying begins - the pods will open easily.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 2:32PM
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I am in the same boat as Zeedman, the weather has been cool and very rainy. I just finished up today tilling a new garden plot. Hopefully I can plant sometime this week or latest early next week.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 7:55PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

Zeedman, thank you for the details about shelling limas! I've been marveling with some intimidation at just how TOUGH the pods seem. They have the texture and stiffness of some of my dogs' rawhide chews! I couldn't imagine how difficult they were going to be to shell, so thanks especially for the info about the pods opening easily when it's time.

Geography and weather really are amazing, huh? Hearing about Jim's days in the 60s has me wistful for February.

Do you gardeners in the north get to plant (P. vulgaris) beans all summer? I plant in March and again in September.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 3:36PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Tonight we ate the first of the baby broad beans (favas). About finger nail size beans lightly boiled (2 mins max.) mixed with chopped grilled bacon and creme fraiche and rocket (arugula) on pasta. These are from my Autumn sowing. The February sowing is not far behind. Then their are two more rows from March to come. The tallest runner beans are now about 3 feet up their poles.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 4:53PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

There - not there. What an embarrassment

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 7:36AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I'm having real trouble today. There not their. Now I think I'll go and have a cup of tea.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 7:39AM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I didn't get as many bush beans planted as I had wanted to, thanks to Hurricane Ike. The plan was to plant around September 1 and September 15. I got the first planting in, but not the second.

So I'm looking at planting snow peas. I have seeds for Oregon Sugar Pod II.

I'll also be planting this year's fava beans in a container. This won't provide me with enough beans for a real meal, but they'll be enough for decoration. I loved growing the plants last year--they were so pretty all through the winter and the blossoms were so fragrant. But I had to pull them up soon after they started blooming because I needed the space for something else.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 7:35PM
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All my beans were a total bust this year. Cowpeas on the other hand did great. I was able to save lots of the Ozark Razorback Peas. I plan on planting several rows next year. My family fell in love with them. Taste so much better than the purple hull peas we usually grow.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 4:15AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

All things considered - such as getting a late start - my beans did pretty well. I hadn't posted much about them previously, so this is the summary for the season. Hope I don't give anybody scroll cramps. ;-)

"Fortex" gave me a great yield of snap beans, even planted late. Filled half of a freezer, and still literally gave buckets away. I also attempted to increase several heirloom beans this year, with at least limited success on all of them.

"Austrian Soup" (from a GW swap last year) proved to be a very high-yielding half-runner, with very fat seeds about the size of "Cranberry". A 10-foot row of gave me a tray full of dry seed, and half of a 5-gallon bucket of ripe pods.

"Blue Blockeye" (from a departing SSE member) was also a productive half-runner. It is a wax variety, with very straight, somewhat flattened 4" yellow pods. They held their quality for a long time on the vine, although the older ones did require stringing. Nearly all of the pods ripened, except for the taste-test.

"Blue Marbutt" (from Fusion) was a very aggressive climber, but rather late to bear. It is supposed to be a snap, but I was away for awhile, and missed testing them in that stage. The pods are 6" long, rounded, with varying shades of purple-on-green. They are borne in great profusion from top to bottom. I was able to harvest a fair amount of dry seed; but with frost threatening, the vast majority were ripe, but not yet dry. The black seeds proved remarkably easy to shell, they virtually fell out of the pods. I'll be cooking some up this weekend.

"Bosnian Pole" was from a GW seed swap. There were only 5 seeds in the sample, of which 3 germinated. These were transplanted into large pots, after which squirrels dug them all up - twice!!! Only one plant survived this ordeal, and produced 5" flat pods, which developed very fat seed with black-on-white coloration. No testing was done, since the object was to save seed... I'll grow it out in a larger quantity next year. It might be a good shelly.

"Kentucky Wonder White #191" was once my favorite snap, but I hadn't grown it since the mid-90's. It has become hard to find commercially, and was not even carried by SSE, so I wanted to return it to circulation. The seed had a 50% germination rate when tested with a nitrate soak, but only had a 10% germination rate in the ground. Then rabbits destroyed all but 4 plants! From those 4 plants, however (two of which appear in the "Bean Spacing" thread) I harvested nearly 3 pounds of dry seed.

"PI 507984" showed great potential last year as a shelly; and since it was too late for most pole shellies, I did a large-scale planting. It did amazingly well; several pounds of dry seed, and 20+ pints of frozen shellies. I am a big fan of pole beans; but for a short-season shell bean, I have not seen it's equal.

"Rose" was obtained in a swap from Gardenlad. It is a very late pole variety; even started early as transplants, it is just now beginning to bear seed. Unfortunately, they could freeze tonight... if they survive, I'll get a lot of seed. If not, they'll be shellies tomorrow. The snaps are really tasty, but it does not appear well adapted to Northern climates.

"Sangre de Toro" is a pole dry bean. Rabbits nipped all but 3 plants, setting them back by several weeks. The 3 intact plants, however, bore heavily. The narrow 5" pods turn bright red as they mature, and hold 8-9 small red seeds. The seed was direct-planted late, and only about half of the pods have dried... I will grow it again next year on a larger scale, provided that I can plant it earlier (and keep the rabbits away).

Of two "runner beans" that I grew this year, one ("Olteanu's Romanian Yellow") was not a true runner bean at all, but a purple-seeded common bean (and a wax bean at that). I didn't find it pleasant as a snap, and while the seeds are attractive, they are too small to use as shellies.

"Tucomares Chocolate" was a seed increase, since almost all of my stock had been traded last year. It is a brown-seeded runner bean, with beautiful bi-colored blossoms. It is the red-flowered vine in the photo posted in the "Bean Spacing" thread. The pod set was very high, probably due to our cooler-than-normal Summer. Unfortunately, it was also direct-seeded late, and only a handful of pods have matured. There is enough seed for me to maintain it, but not enough to trade... so I hope they survive the frost.

There were two heirloom limas this year. "North Star" is a pole variety, medium-sized white seed with a prominent maroon eye. It was started as transplants, and most of the pods ripened to dry seed.

"Hopi Pole" was also started as transplants... but still only matured a small percentage of its seed. The yield potential of this lima is incredible, and I really enjoy its rich flavor; but like "Rose" above, it appears poorly adapted to my short seasons.

Cowpeas: "Pink Eye Purple Hull" (from Jimster) was grown primarily as a seed crop; but I tried a meal of shellies, which I enjoyed. Still quite a few fat pods hanging... I just ran out of daylight, and had to leave them to the frost. :-(

One of the stars of this year's trials was an unnamed Chinese bush yardlong sent to me in a GW swap. The plants are true bush habit, completely runnerless. The 12-18" green pods are borne very early, 50 days from planting... much earlier that my earliest pole yardlong. This would probably succeed in short-season areas where other yardlongs fail, such as into southern Canada. All pods matured & dried before frost, and I had a large seed harvest.

Getting late, I will try to post some photos soon.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 1:16AM
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Zeedman, I sure enjoyed reading your post. Have you tried the razorback cowpeas? I received them from Roger and grew them out this year. It is now my favorite eating cowpea. Shoot me an email if you would like to try them.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 9:36PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

HMK, I appreciate the offer... but during my visit to Heritage Farm over the Labor Day weekend, I brought back 3 new cowpeas to grow next year. One is a gray-seeded (pea?yardlong?) from Thailand, another is an eyed pea with greenish seeds the size & shape of large soybeans. Along with several yardlongs also scheduled for next year, that is the maximum that I can grow & still have pure seed. I've read several good reviews of "Razorback", however, so I hope to grow it in the future.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 11:00PM
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