Whats your favorite variety of pole bean?

daryljurassic(OHIO 6a)July 8, 2008

Whats your #1 favorite pole bean. For the most part I have bean growing "purple" pole beans for the last 10 years. Not sure if there is another name for them. We get them from Gurneys seed catalog. Everybody seems to like them. They are easy to spot/pick. Taste good. They are "stringless". If they get too big sometimes there is a string but at that size they normally get pitched anyway as we like them smaller. No time or desire to deal with shelling. Just curious if I am missing something here. Why would anyone plant string beans vs stringless beans? Something to keep the kids busy? Do you think the flavor is that much better to warrent the hassle? Btw, just out of curiosity, I have set up some rebar this year to see how tall mine can get. The rebars tied together are about 16' tall. May extend that somehow...Had a slow start this spring but right now they are 8'. No flowering yet.

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I am growing Kentucky Wonder. I'm not sure it is a favorite as it has been several years since I grew any. Don't remember the variety back then but, I do remember the dense foliage was all the way to the top of the tepee.
The beans were many and wonderful tasting.
The Kentucky Wonders are vining over 6 feet. All the foliage seems to be at the bottom of the plant. They are just now starting to bud out. Maybe they need a little more time to green up.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 8:29PM
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I only started growing pole beans a couple years ago. Last year was a wash for me. Anyway I grew yard longs & Kentucky Wonders. Loved them both! This year I'm trying Kentucky Wonders (again), Cherokee Trail of Tears, and Chinese Red Noodle. I was late in getting them in. They are just climbing now.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 8:42PM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

I don't know if Runner Beans are considered to be Pole Beans,but if so then Insuk's Wang Kong is our choice as a favorite. My choice was easy as it is the only Bean we have grown for the past 20 years.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 11:02PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I prefer pole beans to most bush varieties, so most of my beans are pole types. My favorites are:
"Fortex" as a snap
"Ma Williams" for shellies (a.k.a. Goose, Kentucky Goose, or Pumpkin Bean)
"Soissons Vert" for dry beans (also outstanding as a shellie)

An older thread with this same question is listed below. There was also a thread on pole wax beans here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best Pole Beans

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 11:05PM
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I like pole beans much more than bush beans. I wasn't going to grow any beans this year, they were attacked by Japanese beetles last year and I didn't want to deal with them again this year. Anyway, as an impulse I bought 6 plants from a garden center. They were only marked "green beans". I asked if they were bush or pole, they told me "definitely pole". I believed them. They are bush beans. The only plus is that the beetles seem to be leaving them alone.

Is it too late to plant pole bean seeds? I think I still have some from last year. Or maybe not. The beetles have just hit us here, may not be worth the effort. My luck they'll sense the pole beans and call all their friends within a hundred mile radius!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 6:32PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

To me, Kentucky Wonder tastes like no other. My family loves it!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 6:45PM
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We like our own family heirloom, called Tennessee Cutshort, which is a pretty large, fat string bean. Yes, it has strings. But the strings are heavy and easy to remove. Because of the size of the pods we actually find this bean to be easier for fixing a good mess than most stringless varieties. Plus, as is so often the case with a good string bean, the pods remain tender even when left on the plant for a long time, unlike most stringless varieties. I can't say that this is so with all stringed varieties. But the ones we've grown are not just STRING beans, they are also TENDER PODDED. The stringless varieties we've grown are tender only when young. Then they are tough podded.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:24AM
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it was blue lake untill this year i planted kentucky wonder now i'm hooked on them. my trellis is 9 ft tall and the vines went over the top and are coming down the other side. im picking a bunch every 3 or 4 days' the heat is slowing down the growth though.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 10:26AM
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shelbyguy(z5 IL)

I've had great luck with Ideal Market, but I've never tried Kentucky Wonder.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 2:41PM
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My favorite pole bean is True Red Cranberry, a dry bean which resembles a cranberry, and which my kids love love love to eat.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 4:44PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Lisa, your kids are gourmets IMO. They know what's good. How do you prepare those beans?


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 5:50PM
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We have them a variety of ways. As baked beans with some kidney and Anasazi and maybe cannelini beans to thicken the sauce. In a Jamaican "peas and rice" dish, or in Nigerian bean stew with peanut sauce. They take longer to cook than other beans, but they're so worth it.

Do you grow them?


    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:26PM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

I must plug Kentucky Blue.

The beans are long and fairly slender. They are tender. I liken them to a tender asparagus. This is our first year with pole beans, but we have had lots of experience with bush beans.

I have never eaten such good beans, and we've had several fresh ones not just from our garden but as gifts from others.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 9:18PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"Do you grow them?"

No. That is one of many varieties I have not grown. Your enthusiasm for it and especially your kids' enthusiasm caught my attention.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 5:55PM
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I have great success with purple pole beans and have been growing them for the past five years. We love them. Also, a french bush bean but just a few plants of them. Another plus with the pole beans is that one does not have to bend down to pick the beans. I used to grow Fortex which is a goodbean variety.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 6:31PM
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I have planted a pole bean variety called Christmas beans this year.Looking at the vine and # of pods on the vine they became my favourites at the very first trial.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:49PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Chamen, those "Christmas" beans are some really big limas!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 5:14PM
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zedman----those "Christmas " beans are some really big limas!
Looking at abundance of pods on my Christmas beans a gardener from neighbourhood asked where can he buy the seeds of these beans.I GOOLED to find name (for buying) of these beans to help him out.I got the folloing answers for Christmas beans.
Christmas pole,Lima beans.
Christmas lima beans.
Christmas pole lima.
Web sites:
Lima beans are sold as Bush lima and Pole lima.
It is easier to buy the seeds if Gardeners have closest possible name of the product sold on the market place.
BW I am growing pole beans for very first time.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 5:32PM
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Cargamanto: it's a cranberry type that is very popular in Colombia. It is well adapted for growth under the constantly cool conditions we have at 2400 meters (about 7500 ft).

Phil Bunch
Medellin/Piedras Blancas, Colombia

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 2:21PM
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I just tried yard long (brown seeds) and Fortex for the first time this year. In years past I have grown Lazy Wife. And earlier than that I grew Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake because my parents always grew KW and I noticed the canned green beans that I bought were always Blue Lake, so I figured they'd be good to can. I was new enough to gardening that I didn't know there were SOOOO many kinds of beans to choose from. A home grown bean is always so much better than the canned ones you buy, whatever kind it is. I don't remember much about the Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake. Seems like the Kentucky Wonder got woody pretty fast.

Lazy Wife was a good bean, the pods grow two or three together and so they are easy to spot and pick (hence the name). The flavor is good. They are climbers, will climb 8 feet or more. Beans are stringless and meant to be enjoyed when young. Once the seeds begin to bulge, they are stringy and tough, though. And when the weather gets hot, just pull them up because the beans after the hot spell is over are short and fat and get woody before they're any size worth picking.

The Fortex that I grew this year have been a disappointment. The pods are really small and picking is time-consuming. I haven't noticed the flavor being better than Lazy Wife was.

The Yard Long bean has been fun and prolific. Even through the heat of summer, they produce. I have them growing on an arch made of a long stock panel and the long beans hang down and are easy to see and pick. The beans are flavorful, tender and stringless. I can't tell you how tall the vine grows because it has gone to the top of the arch and mingled with the vines coming from the other side so I don't know where they end.

I tried to grow Dragon Tongue, which is a bush-type yellow string, but I only had 4 seeds and only one germinated. I hadn't planned to eat any of them as I was growing the plant for the seed, but I mis-judged when to pick and ended up eating them because they hadn't made a seed big enough to plant. They were tender and good, but I didn't get anything I could plant next year and the bean beetles or something got the rest.

I garden pesticide-free so I end up letting the insects take what they intend to take most of the time. I have noticed something's drilling holes in the Fortex, but they don't bother the Yard Long. However, I seem lately to have an infestation of black aphids on the Yard Longs that tend to all gather on the same bean and its stem, covering it like sequins on a ball gown. I've been waiting for the ladybugs to notice them and that hasn't happened, so today I just went out there with a wet paper towel, folded it over the bean and went the length of it, smushing every bug along the way.

I also planted some Tiger Eye, I didn't know if they'd be pole or bush, and I GUESS they're bush but they tended to want to climb a little bit. This apparently is a dry bean as the pods filled out really fast and were really easy to open to get at the bean.

So my favorite this year is the Yard Long. That Red Noodle sounds fun. I'm trying George's Tennessee Cutshort next year. I've never had a bean that was still tender once it got fat so it will be a new experience for us. George may have a convert! I might see if I can get some Insuk's Wang Kong beans to try next year, too. So Jim if you have some to share send me an e-mail. --Ilene

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:17PM
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rxkeith(z5 MI)

from my great uncle, uncle steve italian pole bean is a very good bean. i sent some to sandhill preservation to trial, and they now carry it. thanks to darryl jones (fusion power) who cleaned them up a bit and supplied the seeds for them. it doesn't do as well in the deep south, but you will still get a crop. they will reach the top of that 16 ft rebar in the right conditions. you'll like the color too.

for a yellow bean, meraviglia di veneza (miracle of venice) is a big long early producing, and good tasting bean available from seeds from italy, growitalian.com
i'll grow these 2 beans every year till i'm dead.

fortex is a nice bean that did well and tasted good.
blue marbutt is supposed to be good according to darryl. i only had about 4 or 5 seeds sprout, so most beans will have to be saved for seed this year. hope we don't get an early frost. got down to 37 degrees last night in the keweenaw. available from sandhill preservation.

lots of good ones out there to try.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 11:22PM
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Christmas lima came out to be very productive.It has more like nutty taste.

Pic. of Christmas lima.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:16AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

What beautiful vegetables you grow, Chaman! I would love to dine at your table some day.

I'm harvesting a lot of Fortex now and it is living up to its reputation with me and my neighbors, who get the surplus. Everyone is raving about it. Thanks zeedman, for another good seed swap.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Jim you are most welcome and thanks for a word of appreciation.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 10:04AM
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My Cherokee Trail of Tears out produced my Kentucky Wonders! I'm just now starting to get Chinese Red Noodles. I'm hoping to pick the first ones this weekend. Next year I will plant earlier!

Chaman, those Christmas Limas are beautiful! You've got me thinking about trying limas next year.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 12:57PM
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albionwood(USDA 9/10, Sunset 17)

Blue Lake was a disappointment here, doesn't like the cool ocean breeze I guess. Kentucky Wonder did better and tasted better, too. This year I am trialing Violet Podded Stringless (from Territorial) and Gold of Bacau (from Seeds of Change). Gold of Bacau is a yellow Romano and is really, really good. Not as productive as some, but the beans are large and meaty, very satisfying, without the rubbery texture some green beans get. It seems to be a weak grower for me though, probably wants a little warmer soil. Violet is beautiful but frankly not that tasty. I'm pickling a lot of them.

Insuk's (runner bean) is the best though. And it loves this cool marine climate! Yay!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 11:53PM
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We grow an heirloom bean, which we received from my wife's grandparents in 1983. It's called Barksdale Wax Pole bean. I've seen information on an old bean called Golden Cluster/Andalusia Wax Pole, and it could be the same.

This bean produces pods 7" long by 1" wide. Seed is white.

The reason I mention this one is that it produces best when nights are cool. It also germinates a little better when the soil is cool. Here in Oklahoma I can get it going alright, and the plants bear up well in the heat (as well as any other). But it won't set many pods until the nights get cool. Then, it sets LOTS of pods! Our nights are just now beginning to cool down a bit and we're getting a really good crop.

A couple of years ago, back when we were living in NJ, we had an unusually cool, wet summer. That year Barksdale produced like gangbusters. I sent seed to a Seed Savers Exchange member near White Plains, NY. They reported very high yeilds in 2007.

Barksdale's pods bulge around the seeds more than is necessary. The pods remain tender until the seed begins to dry down. They have no strings, or perhaps only very slight, unnoticeable ones. My only complaint with this bean, besides that I wish it would produce lots while weather is HOT, is that it can be a challenge to produce much seed, and the seed tends not to be very plump.

Anyway, this would be a great one for cool climates.

Tahlequah, OK

Barksdale Wax Pole Bean

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 7:42AM
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Thank you for the report, George. Night temperatures here at the peak of summer average only 52F and that seems to be our biggest challenge. It was about 45 last night. A lot of beans do not seem to like that. I noticed that the SSE Yearbook has Barksdale listed.

Brita's Foot Long is another one that does well in cooler summers. The people at Salt Spring Seeds in BC list is as a snap bean but it also makes very high quality shellys.

Bert Goodwin is listed as a half-runner, but it climbs up to 5 feet. It makes good snaps followed by good shellies.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 11:09AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Nice to see a photo of "Barksdale Wax", George. I planted it this year, but bunnies mowed the row as soon as they came up (!!!). They've been horrible this year, destroying 2 bean varieties, 2 peas, 3 soybeans, and damaging most everything else to some degree. They have forced me to rethink my fence design for next year.

I'll be requesting more seed from you next year, I still want to try it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 3:45PM
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