I shouldn't have to ask this!

bigoledude(SE Louisiana)April 13, 2014

I've been gardening a very long time. Yet, I've never grown beans, peas or any legume for that matter. I have many questions and, know from experience that 2 questions-per-post is about max for responses. LOL

I want to plant all "pole" type beans/peas. Most of what I will grow will be pickled in a hot Cajun vinegar. I guess the intense seasoning will kinda negate me needing a specific flavored bean for pickling. A lot will be eaten fresh as "snap" beans. Here in SE Louisiana we eat tons of "red beans-n-rice. And, for now, the store-bought kind does the trick for dry beans.

Having fresh green-peas sounds like it would be fabulous. And, it seems that the southern peas can handle our summer heat.

The questions:

What would be the most prolific pole bean to use for pickling that won't get all mushy?

Is there a great-tasting "pole" snap bean for coking, that is also prolific?

I have some seed of Yard-Long. Would these be a good choice for my intended purposes?

OK, I pushed the envelope and asked 3 questions. Thanks in advance for y'alls replies.

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I can't answer your basic question as I do not do pickled beans. There are a lot of pole varieties for snap beans. Rattlesnake is better at handling summer heat. Most pole ( common beans) burn out in July-August here. Southern peas love the summer heat, but they are not green peas. The English pea which is green is best grown in the winter or very early spring in the south. The "yard long" is a version of the southern pea grown for its pods. Most are "pole" types but have a different flavor and texture from a snap bean.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 8:43AM
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Search for "dilly beans" and a few articles will show up. Emerite is a sweet pole bean and a bit softer. Striped Bunch is a half-runner small slightly harder bean that does not mush up when pickled. Grandma Roberts Tricolor pole beans are the most prolific and heat tolerant. Get seed of each and give them a try. You will quickly figure out which is best.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:00AM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

Thanks for the quick responses guys!

Hey Fusion, I am gonna try and find all 3 of the ones you mentioned.

Is the Striped Bunch (half-runner) much shorter than the others where I must situate it more southerly, so that it isn't shaded by the others?

I really like the flavor and texture of the edamame (still in the pods) they serve at a local buffet. Is there a point in the growing process, prior to getting hard, where snap beans are similar to edamame? Or, would southern peas be better for these "greenish" beans?

I'm also gonna plant cantaloupe vertically. Does anyone know which has taller vines, the above mentioned beans or Ambrosia and Charantais muskmelons?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:24PM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

Hey Farmerdill, should I kinda anticipate the time for the others to quit in the heat and then plant the yard-longs? Or, are they just as good as snap beans and are "worth-it" to plant some now?

Thanks for the Rattlesnake tip. Will they make right through our dog-days?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:35PM
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I don't know your summer temps. we usually get about 30 days of triple digit temps in July and August. Pole bean shut down at about 95. I have not planted Yard long/Asparagus beans for years. If I need some pods for stir fry or similar I just pick tender pods from the southern peas. Note I use the tender pods as snaps in a batch of fresh southern peas. they have a different taste and texture than common beans, need very little cooking and mush up quickley when overcooked. They don't taste like asparagus either, but do have a similar texture. Here I plant the Vigna in May- June. Usually double cropped with spring vegetables like English peas, Onions, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage etc when that harvest is completed.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 8:24AM
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Check Sandhill Preservation

I got a bean, PI 207373, out of ARS-Grin a couple of years ago that is much more heat tolerant than rattlesnake, but needs a lot of work to breed the heat and disease tolerance into a better size and flavor bean. It will take some time and is definitely a long term project.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:11AM
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I love cajun pickled green beans! Now I am salivating for some! I'm in the DC suburbs where it gets really hot and humid, just not for as long as it does in Louisiana. I'm also thinking of trying southern peas this year to get more of a harvest rather than the lull in August and early September when my bush beans shut down.

Here are my bean/pickling experiences:

Asparagus Beans: I'm not sure if it's just my neighborhood, where we have a big problem with odorous brown ants, but the two summers I grew asparagus beans, the blossoms were like magnets for ants.

The first year I grew regular green ones and they did okay anyway but when I tried Red Noodle, the ants colonized the plants and eventually killed them. We decided I had cleverly planted them as "bait" to keep the ants out of the house and garden, so I'm sticking with that story!

My husband loves to pickle what I grow but we haven't tried it with asparagus beans because they are hollow and not too crisp to begin with (sort of leathery is how I would describe the texture- good in stir fries.)

Snap beans- We have great success growing and pickling yellow wax beans, but they do slow down to about nothing in August heat. They are very crisp and make great pickles that stay crisp- and are so easy to pick because the yellow stands out. I only grow the bush type because I like to tuck them around in my flower borders rather than giving up garden space.

Edamame- I love them too and they are so good for you, so I am trying to grow them this year. I'm trying Moon Cake edamame from Southern Exposure seeds. They were bred by the USDA in Beltsville, MD, right near DC, so I figure they can handle the humid heat. I read that Virginia is a big producer of soybeans so I am hoping for a good harvest. Here is a great post about edamame:

Here is a link that might be useful: edamame primer

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:16AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I live about 150 miles north of you in east Central MS. We lived in Metairie eight years when we were very young. I learned to love Red Beans and Rice. To this day, my children think that is the only way to eat dry beans!

I agree with farmerdill that Rattlesnakes are great for southern heat and humidity. Last summer I had two teepees of them and they never shut down the whole summer. It was not as hot as typical, but the temps still stayed between 90 and 95 for six weeks or more. We ate beans and ate beans and then I put 10 gallons in the freezer. They are delicious too. They have a firm texture, so I am guessing that they would do well pickled.

I have also grown Louisiana Purple Pod Snap beans. They are delicious too. This year I am growing one teepee of them along with one teepee of the Rattlesnakes to make a comparison of how they fare in the heat. LPPS beans are truly delicious and have the added bonus of being very beautiful plants in the garden.

I have grown Fortex and Emerite as fall snaps. I plant them in early to mid August just as the hot temps are cooling. They come right up and start making beans in September. The quality of the beans at that time of year is absolutely superb. Here, the plants produce until first frost in mid November. Both of these beans are truly delicious, but I found the Emerite beans to be much easier to pick. The Fortex vines are so lush that it can be difficult to find the beans.

I have grown the Red Noodle Asparagus Beans. I found them to be aphid magnets (I mean COVERED with big fat aphids!), which, in turn drew ants. They are beautiful plants and incredibly prolific, no matter how hot it gets. Unfortunately, my family didn't much like the taste and the beautiful red beans turn ebony black when cooked, which are somewhat unappetizing to my group. I am going to try the green ones this year to see what we think of them. They definitely do not taste anything like snap beans.

You might like trying some crowder peas. They seem impervious to heat and humidity and they make very good eating. Pink Eye Purple Hulls have wonderful flavor, but they turn your hands black when you are shelling them and they make a dark pot liquor which some people find unappetizing.Nevertheless, they are the most popular variety in this area and for good reason.

I am very fond of Zipper Creams. They are easy to pick, easy to shell, and have a clear pot liquor. The flavor is excellent too. They are equally prolific. I try a new variety of pea every year, but so far, I have not found any that I think are superior to these two. I hope you have great success with your very first beans!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:32PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"I have grown the Red Noodle Asparagus Beans. I found them to be aphid magnets (I mean COVERED with big fat aphids!), which, in turn drew ants. They are beautiful plants and incredibly prolific, no matter how hot it gets. Unfortunately, my family didn't much like the taste and the beautiful red beans turn ebony black when cooked, which are somewhat unappetizing to my group."

There is a trick to restore most of the color... all it takes is a little vinegar. The vinegar will turn the cooked Red Noodle beans back to a burgundy red, and make a deep red sauce. If the vinegar flavor is too strong, you can pour it off after the color change. It's possible lemon juice would restore the red color too, but I haven't tried it yet (an experiment I will try this year). If eaten as a side dish, my family likes yardlongs seasoned with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic powder.

Yardlongs cook quickly, so for the best color & texture, don't over-cook them. You can blanch & freeze them too, but due to their low moisture content, they get freezer burn very quickly. I freeze the cut up beans first in plastic freezer boxes, then remove the frozen block & place it in a vacuum sealed bag. (Pre-freezing this way also reduces the chance of seal failure in the vacuum bag, caused by liquid & debris being pulled over the seal as air is evacuated.)

The "hollowness" of yardlong beans can be caused by water stress - even if the plants don't show other symptoms. Yardlongs are at their best when the soil is not allowed to dry out. My best year ever for yardlongs was a year of record rainfall; while much of my garden languished during the flooding, only two things flourished - yardlongs, and edamame soybeans. I highly recommend a thick layer of mulch around yardlong beans, to preserve soil moisture locally at a high level. For me, this heavy mulch - along with frequent irrigation - makes the pods consistently longer & more succulent.

When picking yardlong beans, be careful not to break off the delicate tip of the flower stalk. That is where new flowers will form, so if you treat those tips with care, you'll get a larger crop.

About yardlongs & ants. The nectar given off by the by the extrafloral nectaries (the bumps on the stem below the flowers) attracts several insects. Ants are the most common, and are often the source of the aphid infestations, since they "farm" the aphids. These ants will defend the plants very aggressively, which is probably the reason the plants evolved to attract them. Generally, the ants are only an annoyance... I just thump the pods prior to picking to knock off the ants. But some years, carpenter ants colonize the vines, in which case I take measures to control the ants.

But in my garden, wasps and ladybugs are also attracted in large numbers. This makes them great plants to maintain a ladybug population within the garden. If you purchase ladybugs, time their release for when flowering begins, to make them "stay home".

Contrary to the hyperactivity of the ants, wasps feeding on yardlong nectar become very docile, almost as if they are intoxicated. I can move among the plants & harvest even when there are wasps there in large numbers. I was stung only once - when there was a wasp sitting on the back side of a pod I was picking, and I accidentally grabbed it. Even then, the wasp only stung me lightly, then flew back to the vines. Personally, I like to attract wasps, since they are valuable insect predators... but if you are allergic to wasp stings, you might not want to grow yardlongs.

Yardlongs are just climbing cowpeas (Southern peas) that were bred for their pods instead of seeds, so all of the above pertains to cowpeas as well.

Bigoledude, in your hot climate, there are two other climbing beans you might be interested in. Hyacinth beans love tropical heat, and as the name implies, have beautiful fragrant blossoms. There are both green and purple podded cultivars, I would recommend the purple due to their thicker pods. The pods are cooked & eaten much like snap beans... they must be picked young, though, before seeds develop. You might also want to try Winged Bean, which forms interesting 4-sided pods. Not sure how they would hold up, but they might make some really interesting pickles. The flowers, young leaves, and tubers of Winged Bean are also edible.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 12:26AM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

Hey Donnabaskets, Blueswimmer and Zeedman

What great responses! I have had my share of questions over the years here. But between y'all, fusion and and farmerdill, these responses were out-the-box as they say here in N.O.!

I sure hope that the folks here who have questions about "snap"beans read y'alls very informative answers to my lame questions. Thank you sooo much guys an ladies.

Please don't take this "thank you" as necessarily an end to this post. If y'all have any further comments or, anyone else for that matter, please feel free to further enlighten an old guy.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 2:09AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Zeedman, you are amazing. Thank you for the hint about the Red Noodle beans. I am so glad to see that! In a typical summer here, they would definitely be the closest things to snap beans that would grow. I will try them again! (I really meant it about how pretty they are in the garden. I love them if only for that. )

I do not understand what you mean by the ants "farming" the aphids. Can you explain? What does farming mean?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 4:07PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"I do not understand what you mean by the ants "farming" the aphids. Can you explain? What does farming mean?"

As they feed, aphids give off "honeydew", a sweet substance. Ants feed on this, so they will milk aphids for honeydew much the way humans use cows. In turn, the ants offer some protection for the aphids.

The ants can spread their aphid "herd" from plant to plant, which is what I was referring to when I said they "farm" aphids. This can be a problem if there is a diseased plant in the row. It can also make it difficult to eliminate aphid infestations, since the ants might just re-introduce them from elsewhere.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 5:43PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Oh my goodness. That is fascinating. Thank you.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 4:50PM
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timetraveler(9b Melbourne Beach FL)

Are there any aphid resistant varieties of asparagus beans? I read that the "black seeded" ones were resistant, but the ones I planted ( Liana) are also aphid magnets.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 9:22AM
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