Shelly Beans Part 2

drloydOctober 18, 2010

My all time favorite thread is the original Shelly Bean thread that Zeedman started back in 2006. There were many interesting and helpful posts by him, Gardenlad and others. Eventually the thread became very long and it appears that it is no longer possible to post there. In fact, all of the 2009 posts have vanished including Zeedman's and my 2009 results reports.

I would like to continue that thread here if there is enough interest. My 2010 shelly report is almost ready and I plan to post it here.

The original thread is located here.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

if there is enough interest

Oh, I think there will be.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 11:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I'm looking forward to this thread too, the closest I've come to eating shellies is the Tennessee Cutshorts I grew this year, I call them my gentle introduction to eating shellies :).
What other POLE bean varieties can be eaten this way, still in their pods, their pods staying tender and, which 3 varieties of POLE beans do you rate the best as shellies (without their pods).


    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 11:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cabrita(9b SoCal)

Let me cast a vote again for the soisson verts. They are a pole shelly and are not dual purpose, the pods are not good, you have to wait for the shellies or dried beans. Very much worth the wait. We will grow even more of them next season (for the third year in a row).

[img src=""]

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 4:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Annette there are some beans that are similar to Tennessee Cutshort though not as plump.

Tobacco Worm is an excellent snap that is also eaten when it is plump with small shellies. It is very fine even when the pods become yellow and soft. Saving seed was a challenge this year even though the beans were started in peat pots. I would collect each pod as it became yellow and flexible. No chance of them drying on the vine like they did last year.

North Carolina Speckled Long Cutshort Greasy is similar but it is a greasy bean that develops some red streaks as it matures. This one was also started in peat pots and it was even harder to save seed. The pods never did get very flexible and I am hoping that I have viable seed for this excellent bean.

Striped Cornfield was a surprise. I tossed a few of the very fat Borlotto type pods in a steamer with some other beans. To my surprise the pods were stringless and edible.

Favorite 3? Hmm. In the past I would have rated Brita's Foot Long very high but this year we had a crop failure. They are a Salt Springs variety. I plan to continue growing it every year.

Borlotto Solista and B. Stregonta are both great shellies.

Goose/Ma Williams is a very nice shelly and they did make mature seed this year. The pods are also edible but most people do not like them steamed in the pods. Dick

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jimster(z7a MA)

That's a gorgeous photo of the soisson verts, Cabrita. I would like to see it used in the corner of the Bean Forum main page. Most forums have a picture of some kind there, symbolizing the forum. For some reason, this forum never got one.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jimster I agree about the photo. Since you got this formum started, do you have any way to get photo posted?

Zeedman mentioned Soissons Vert as a good shelly on the original thread. Dick

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Thanks for the recomendations Dick, although not many I managed to get some decent seed off the Tennessee Cutshorts this year so will definitely plant more than a single pole next year, it turned out to be my favorite bean, they were sooooo good.

I had to pick several varieties before they were completely dry and dry them indoors because of the lousy weather but managed to get seed from all of them, even a few Barksdale.

I received some Ma Williams and Tobacco Worm plus a few more great beans in trade so will be able to sample most of them next year. I don't know if my Auntie Vi's would make a good shellie or not we've always eaten them as a snap bean, I did manage to get quite a bit of seed tho so I can replenish my almost depleted seed stash.

I have dealt with Salt Spring Seeds for quite a few years and have always had great success with their seeds and garlic, I did see they have Brita's on their list :) and, they have many more varieties preserved in their seed and plant sanctuary but you have to be a member to obtain those.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Another vote for Cabrita's picture of Soisson verts it would be a great addition to the main page. Now, where would one find seed for this succulent, mouth watering, bean.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jimster(z7a MA)


I think all that's necessary is to ask Tamara (administrator) to do it for us. Some time ago the Tomato Forum members replaced their graphic with a more attractive one which was selected via voting IIRC.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Annette the Ma Williams/Goose has a reputation for doing a lot of crossing. I typically grow three 14 foot trellises. Maybe I should give that to you in meters. :-) Anyway, I surround them with runner beans for bees to wipe their feet on.

I tried Barksdale in the past and was not able to save seed. Uzice Speckled Wax is a similar flat yellow bean and I am able to save seed from that. It is also a shelly and we had some last night. There is a photo on the original shelly thread. Dick

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 9:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Dick, thanks for the warning about Ma Williams I want to try another runner bean next year Samos Greek Lima, I'll be growing this one out front as I'll be planting Insuk's Wang Kong in the back garden, I'll plant Ma Williams out front too, our house should be enough of a buffer zone.

Don't talk to me about metric, I hate it with a passion, since we changed to metric everything is in smaller containers but we still paid the same price. We have an old house, when we have to replace something nothing fits and worse of all, when I'm in a garden center I look like an idiot hovering over a plant mentally converting centimeters to inches, using my hands as a measuring stick to verify yep, that's 18 inches.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cabrita(9b SoCal)

Annette, I took a look at my verts seeds (and put them in the fridge). This spring I want to double the amount I planted last year, so I don't have enough to share or trade this season. I plan to grow more seeds next spring and hopefully have enough to trade in small quantities by June of next year. Maybe not too late to plant for you? I will probably be looking to trade for some Tennessee cut-shorts ;-)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We don't intentionally eat shellies. But it happens, since we like the tender podded varieties. This year I trialed Frank Barnett, an Appalachian cutshort. Like Tennessee Cutshort it would make a good shelly bean. The pods are smaller than Tennessee Cutshort, but the beans are absolutely packed in there, having the squared off ends of a true cutshort.
It's available through Sustainable Mountain Agriculture.

Tahlequah, OK

Here is a link that might be useful: Sustainable Mountain Agriculture

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 5:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Cabrita, sounds like a plan :), the earliest I'll have any TC's will be October next year, I should have seed to spare as long as I have a decent growing season. Email me through my member's page.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 1:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

George I consider Tennessee Cutshort to be a shelly that is served in its wrapper! Dick

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 9:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

2010 Bean Report (short version)

Weather summary: January and February 2010 were warmer than normal but April, May and June were very wet and cold in Washington State with record cold temperatures and rainfall. The first 75 degree day of the year was June 23, two weeks later than ever before recorded. By that measure, this was the coldest spring since records were kept. The killing frost was 10/16 at 29F.

5/16/10 Some beans were started in peat pots. These and the rest of the beans (all pre-sprouted) were planted in the cold mud on 5/30. On 6/13 empty spaces of most varieties were replanted with dry seed, still in the cold mud. 7/1 Weather was warming up so beans were coming up all over, even where I thought the seed had died so spacing was now too close!

Bush beans:
"Cannellini Bush" shelly 9/15 a few large fat pods are turning yellow but most just got moldy.
"Clem and Sarah’s Big Bean" shelly 9/15 Some yellow pods. 10/1 a lot of yellow pods. They are not easy to shell and may not make dry seed this year. We had a mess of them and the large thin skinned shellies have fine flavor. They did not do as well as in the past.
"Decker Family Bean" shelly 9/15 few pods turning yellow. 10/1 no change. 10/15 they did not do well. The few shellies are about an inch long and very plump, pink with purple streaks.
"Giant Red Tarka" (USDA PI 507984) shelly. This is my main bush shelly. 9/3 few pods turning yellow. 10/1 most are yellow with mature shellies and some are dry. 10/5 harvest is complete. There is a photo on the first shelly bean thread.
"Serene" shelly 9/15 some mature looking red and yellow long fat Borlotto type pods. 9/19 I collected some soft pods for seed before the rain damages them further. Shellies are over 3/4 inch long, oval and very plump, purple splotches on white or reversed. There will not be enough for a taste test. Very easy to shell. 10/10 harvest is complete.
"Soissons Nain Blanc" shelly 10/1 some small yellow pods. 10/9 the pods are fibrous and the small white 1/2 inch shellies are delicious.

Runner: I grow only one per year due to crossing issues. Runners require pollination.
"Bond’s Orcas Lima" 8/15/10 The bumble bees are finally out so there are some tasty snaps. 9/15 some shellies appear to be usable though pods are all still green. 9/25 first meal of shellies which are up to 1-1/4 inch long. 10/1 many yellow pods with mature shellies. They taste as good as last time I grew them. 10/11 a lot of dry seed. Much later than normal for this bean due to lack of bees in July. 10/28 some shellies are still usable.

Pole Beans:
"Borlotta Solista" shelly. 9/15 peat pot plants pods are swelling with some almost mature shellies. 10/1 some mature shellies even on direct planted plants. 10/12 there is much less mold than on the B Stregonta so there are more healthy pods but the beans are not as mature. I picked the dried pods and two buckets of shellies. So far, the harvest is similar in amount to B Stregonta but there are a lot more to go if they mature. Shellies have good flavor. 10/28 There are still usable shellies.
"Borlotta Stregonta" shelly 10/1 some mature shellies. 10/11 many pods are moldy and rotten. Harvest of mature shellies and dry seed is complete. The trellis of reverse colored seeds almost all came out normal pinto bean color.
"Bosnian Pole" Romano type snap and shelly. Some were started in peat pots. These are very late and on 9/15 there were some 4-5 inch snaps. 9/19 the snaps are tender and string free. 10/1 there are a few pods turning yellow with mature seed. 10/15 there is mature seed. The crop was not heavy. 10/28 some shellies are still usable.
"Brita’s Foot Long" snap and shelly 8/15/10 lots of snaps. Saving them for shellies. 10/1 most of the vines have died, broken with heavy loads of pods? Weeks of wet feet? 10/15 all the vines have died. I did not save shellies or seed. :-O
"Chester"/"Flagg", shelly. These were all started in peat pots. 10/1 There is some color on some shellies so they are nearly ready. 10/10 some pods are flexible but the pods do not really change color to signal ripeness. 10/15 I froze shellies and saved seed. 10/28 some shellies are still usable.
"Cornfield, Striped", shelly. 8/15/10 some snaps. 9/15 a lot of the 4 inch pods are red and yellow with shellies (happy surprise). Large seeds. Pods look like short Borlottos. 9/19 we tried these, steaming some in the pods. Another surprise ��" the pods were tender and string free. Great shellies. 10/1 some pods are starting to soften so I am collecting seed. This is a pole bean in this climate, not a half-runner as in Wisconsin but the vines are not aggressive. They are difficult to shell unless pods are softening. There are no strings to help unzip them. 10/28
"Cutshort Greasy" (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly) 9/1 there are a lot of small usable snaps but they are not shiny. 9/15 the five inch snaps are starting to swell. 10/1 There are two kind of beans on the trellis. One is not greasy and looks like Tobacco Worm and the other are small 3 inch greasy beans that are swelling with seeds. 10/1 no change. 10/15 no mature pods.
"Emerite" snap Some were started in peat pots. First mess of snaps on 8/5. 8/15 lots of snaps. 9/19 some pods are softening so seed will be viable. 10/1 some pods drying. 10/28 beans are no longer usable.
"Fortex" snap Some were started in peat pots. A few snaps on 8/5. 8/15/10 lots of snaps. 9/4 a later planting has lots of snaps. 9/15 second planting still has some young and many very large beans but all still usable. 10/1 some pods on the first trellis appear to be softening with mature seed. 10/28 beans are no longer usable.
"Goose" shelly. 8/15 some snaps. 9/15 a few pods are turning yellow and pink. 9/19 first mess of shellies. 10/1 a few pods are starting to soften with mature seed. 10/13 most pods are either flexible or drying and I am harvesting buckets of them for shelling. 10/28 some shellies are still usable.
"Kwintus" flat snap and shelly. 8/15/10 some snaps. They look greasy until they get about 1/2 inch wide. 10/15 there are some shellies. Progress is much later than last year. 10/28 there are still some usable shellies that could be saved for seed. None dried this year.
"Monteges del Ganxet" shelly. Some were started in peat pots. 9/4 These are huge aggressive vines. 10/15 there are a few 6 inch beans with small bumps. They are ok as snaps.
"North Carolina Speckled Long Cutshort Greasy" (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly). Some were started in peat pots. 8/15/10 a few 4” snaps. 9/4 some are plumping up. 9/15 some beans (from peat pots) are very plump with seeds and are very good eating. 10/1 some pods are yellow but not getting soft yet. 10/15 few pods are a bit flexible and I am collecting them for seed. 10/28 there are still usable snaps even though the vines are sad looking. The dry seed looks good.
"Pink Tip Greasy" (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly) 10/1 there are only a few beans on the vines and no sign of any maturing pods. 10/15 no pink tips or maturing pods yet. 10/28 some beans are still usable. None matured.
"Snowcap" was bumped from the list. It is good in soup but the shelly flavor is not as good as the others. Grow some of the huge shellies next year for chili.
"Tennessee Cutshort" (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly). Some were started in peat pots. 8/15/10 loads of snaps but I am saving them for when seeds mature. 9/1 These are great eating. 9/15 some of the first plants in peat pots have mature colored seed. What a treat steamed in the pod! 10/28 beans are no longer usable.
"Tobacco Worm" (best eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly) . These were all started in peat pots. 9/4 lots of usable size snaps. 9/15 some are very plump with almost mature seeds and are very fine eating. 10/1 there are some pods that are soft with mature seed. 10/11 some yellow and soft pods harvested for seed. 10/28 some are still usable.
"Uzice Speckled Wax", wax and shelly. 9/1 there are some snaps and a couple pods are turning white. 9/15 There are still a lot of quality young green and yellow snaps. A few pods are white with seed that look like they will mature. The crop was not huge. 10/1 a few pods are turning purple with mature seed. This is a pole bean here, not a half-runner as in Wisconsin. 10/15 there are a couple dozen purple pods with mature seed which I picked to dry indoors. 10/28 snaps and shellies are no longer usable. The dry seed looks good. There is a photo on the original shelly bean thread. - Dick

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only usable beans appear to be a few late maturing Bond's Orcas Lima runner bean shellies. Maybe a few Goose shelles. Very sad looking bean patch.

At least there are lots of carrots, cabbage, beets, brussels sprouts and even a couple dozen usable ears of corn still on the stocks. Dick

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dick, thanks for the detailed report! I will return here to more carefully go through it. Your notes look a lot like mine. I even go back and peruse my own notes during the winter. It's amazing the observations one can come up with.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Yes, a big thank you from me too, since we have very similar growing conditions I'm finding this most useful. I have a couple of the beans you've mentioned but haven't grown yet, I don't know if your Bond's Orca Lima runner is similar to the Samos Greek Lima runner I'm going to try next year, mine are white flowers/white beans. I'm bookmarking this thread for future reference.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 1:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

George I also review my notes in the winter to help with planning and to just plain enjoy remembering summer!

Annette the two beans do sound similar. I did not find any references to Samos Greek Lima runner except for your posts and . I do not see on the website if they ship to the USA. Currently our USDA is requiring more hoop jumping than some Canadian seed companies are willing to put up with. It is not listed in the SSE Yearbook by that name.

If the dried beans really do cook up tasting like Limas that would be a real find.

Bond's Orcas Lima is a bit lf a mystery. An SSE member on Orcas island got it from the Coffelts who got it from the Bonds. It came from elsewhere and it would have had a different name before it got to Orcas. It is the earliest of the runners that I have tried. White blossoms and white seeds that make good shellies. I'll have to cook up a batch of dried beans to see how they are. Maybe they will taste like Limas.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We live south of Seattle at about 600 feet elevation. The ground may not warm up enough for beans to germinate until the end of June. That is way too late, so pre-sprouting makes a big difference. I am trying different methods to see what works best.

Mixing a handful of beans in a flower pot of potting soil with good drainage and simply pouring water on from above works fine for me. Failures have been from too many beans in a pot that was too small and application of too little water.

Sprouting in Mason jars with cheese cloth over the top is the easiest way but cotyledons may crack.

Last spring I tried soaking them for 4 hours and then rinsing several times a day. The short soak time was to minimize cracking. This did not work very well. The germination rate went from 0% for Bosnian Pole to 20% for Giant Red Tarka to very high for Tennessee Cutshort and a few others. So I put water back on the Bosnian Pole, Giant Red Tarka and other failures for a second 4 hour soak. I could see roots appearing during this second soak and the germination rate was nearly 100%.

This week I put shelly type beans on to soak overnight in tepid water in pint jars with mesh over the tops. The next morning after about 8 hours they were drained and then rinsed and drained several times a day. Results:

Giant Red Tarka ��" these are small seeds that have to swell to very large size. Germination was 90%. Cracked cotyledons was 40%. Not good.

Brita's Foot Long ��" Germination was 90%. Cracked cotyledons was 90%. Yikes!

Tarbais - Germination was 100%. Cracked cotyledons was 5%.

Borlotto Stregonta - Germination was 95%. Cracked cotyledons was 5%.

Borlotto Solista - Germination was 100%. Cracked cotyledons was 5%.

Next experiment - take the Giant Red Tarka and Brita's, soak them for 4 hours. Rinse and drain them several times the rest of the day. The next day, soak for 4 hours again. Continue to rinse and drain.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Well this year after having to replant for the first time ever I might add, I'm going to start all my beans in pots or flats in the greenhouse. I have sprouted beans in damp paper towel in closed containers on top of one of our aquariums with good results but nothing compared to great results planting in loosely filled pots of No#4 sunshine mix. These were really strong and sturdy looking when they popped through and when transplanted into the garden went right past the beans that were directly seeded.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 10:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hemnancy(z8 PNW)

drlloyd- Thanks for all the info. I haven't grown any of the beans you mention. I am in SW Washington so I have a little warmer climate. My best runner so far has been Insuk's Wang Kong, next would be Scarlet Emperor. I tried Wisley's Magic and Polestar from T&M this year but neither came up as well or grew as vigorously as IWK, so instead of a full trellis growing over the top and producing mightily, there were just a few vines producing only a few beans. I don't know how to explain that.

I'm thinking of trying La Spagna, which some have said is a runner bean, next year. Has anyone tried it? I tasted a casserole dish in Seattle with very large wonderful white beans in it and would like to grow them but don't know what they were. Any ideas?

Since you have a short season I wonder if you have considered growing Grandma Roberts' Purple Pole Beans. It is a round bean and the earliest pole bean I grow, plus instead of giving up after it's main crop it will frequently have another fall crop. I use it when I decide to plant late in the season so planted a 20' row and was trying for seed so left a lot of pods on late, but was forced to pick them last week by bad weather, as some pods were starting to thin out and mold. So I had a lot of very bumpy overgrown pods, and made some shellies, tried drying some for seed, and ate some of the pods anyway. I was surprised the pods still tasted pretty good, and I also liked the shellies. This bean has strings but otherwise low in fiber.

I have photos of GRPP, you have to scroll down a ways.

Were Borlotto Solista and Stregonta good producers for you? Can you compare them to Tongue of Fire and Dragon's Tongue?

Here is a link that might be useful: GRPP

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a side note that I sent several gallons of Grandma Roberts Purple Pole beans to Sandhill this year. They will be available for 2011.

I'm glad you are growing and enjoying them still!


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 2:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hemnancy, great photos. I have not tried GRPP yet. Sounds like a good one.

I have grown Borlotto Lingua de Fuoco which I think is tongue of fire. The seeds were roundish and smaller than b. solista and stregonta. It did not do real well here two years ago, but then it was shaded by corn. So I should try it again. I have not trialed Dragon's Tongue.

B. Solista and Stregonta always do well for me. This year a some of the Stregontas got moldy before they made their big shellies. Solistas do best if started in peat pots.

My 2009 report included Bianco di Spagna/Spagna Bianco/Di Spagna Bianco/Italian Butter Beans. According to documents from EU sources, it is a runner. It certainly looks and acts like one. It may be the largest ever shelly bean at up to 1-3/4 inches long.

All the posts from 2009 have vanished from the original shelly bean thread. Would anyone care to see my and Zeedman's 2009 bean reports? Dick

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 9:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ispahan Zone6a Chicago


Yes, please post the 2009 reports if you have them available! I am amazed at the wealth of information available on this forum.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Fusion, I like GRPP, they are great, thanks! But I am a little afraid of the strings transferring to other beans through cross-breeding. But it really fit the bill for starting late, when I don't have to worry about cross-breeding because the other beans have already set their pods.

I once had a bad experience growing my then favorite Jeminez along with a couple of beans that can get very fibrous when over the hill, I think Helda and ?Emerite? My Jeminez next year were not their usual tender selves, so I had to get a source of Jeminez again. I still like it but got tired of the lateness and long time to grow, so I've shifted to Uncle Steve, IWK, and I like Super Marconi that you sent. But I'm interested in trying some Italian beans. I guess Super Marconi is one? Maybe the shellie beans tend to have fibrous pods, though?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 12:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Dick, it would be great if you could give us those reports again. If I bookmark it will I still have access to it if it takes a hike again or, would it be best to print it out. This kind of information is really useful for those of us who haven't grown many of these beans.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 3:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

May I suggest copy-pasting interesting threads into a file on your computer. That way you have a copy in case a thread is deleted, and you can copy-pasta in emails or a new thread more easily than having to scan a printout. You can backup a copy somewhere else in case of computer problems.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 4:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Great idea Happy, I can do that, I'm getting a little better at this computer stuff. I don't have to run to DH yelling help I just.... nearly as much anymore. DH is the computer whiz in our house and keeps me out of most of the trouble I get myself into. There's a reason why my moniker is aftermidnight and it has nothing to do with the song, more to do with when the light bulb finally came on LOL.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You're doing fine Annette, lots of people still don't even have a computer!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

2009 Bean Results. Warm el niño summer. Killing frost 11/11.

Except for Bianco di Spagna, the plants in peat pots were started on 5/18 and they were planted out on 6/1. Those that were started in pots are all noted below. The sprouting of direct seeded beans was started on 5/30 and they were planted out on 6/2.

Bush Beans.
"Bert Goodwin" 9/20 a few mature shellies. 9/26 some dry pods, shellies up to 1-1/8” long and a large number of green pods. 10/10 most of the remaining beans are green. We did not get many shellies or dry seed due to the very early hard frost.
"Clem and Sarah’s Big Bean" 8/7 the snaps are swelling a bit and are tough and stringy. 9/20 many dry pods and shellies on the heavily branched plants. 10/1 picked them all. The white shellies resemble Brita’s except they are a bit larger (up to 1-1/16”) and harder to shell. They produced a very good crop of shellies and dry seed.
"PI507984" Shellies 9/5. 9/20 some dry pods and loads of shellies. 9/26 loads of dry pods. Plants have up to 40 pods. They are easy to shell fresh or dry. Great bean for the PNW climate. The shellies are very fine quality and keep their color well when cooked. (Now called "Giant Red Tarka".

Pole Beans (All trellises and rows of poles are spaced at 4 feet.)
"Barksdale" 9/04 there are flat yellow 6” snaps. 9/17 large pods are still string free. 10/10 Unable to collect mature seed.
"Bianco di Spagna" (runner bean) - Plants in peat pots were started on 5/10 and they were planted out on 5/29. 8/7 notes: The peat pot plants were able to set some beans before the very hot weather in mid to late July (up to 106F) but there is not much except for blossoms on the others. 8/15 the peat pot plants have shellies. 8/22/09 first mess of yellow pod shellies. 9/20 some dry pods on peat pot plants. 10/10 between the very hot late July and early frost, the direct seeded plants did not produce much.
"Borlotto Solista" 9/9 the plants in peat pots have shellies. 9/20 there are some dry pods on peat pot plants. 10/9 Harvest is complete on peat pot plants. Most direct seeded shellies are mature, some drying. Pods are up to 11” long with up to 8 fat cream and maroon 1-1/8” long shellies. Shellies and dry pods are easy to shell. Picked them all.
"Borlotto Stregonta" were direct seeded only. 9/9 shellies, some more then 1-1/8” long. 9/20 there are some dry pods.
"Brita’s Foot Long" Very aggressive climbers. 9/15 first shellies ready. 9/20 there are some dry pods. Shellies up to 1”. They are easy to shell, fresh or dry.
"Canon City" 9/20 some shellies on peat pot plants are fully mature with softening pods. 10/10 very few of the direct seeded shellies are mature and have color. Shellies are up to 1-1/4”. Shellies are difficult to shell.
"Flagg"/"Chester" Very poor seed. Only one peat-pot seed sprouted and I ended up with only 2 plants total. 8/22/09 first shellies on the peat pot plant. 9/20 there are some dry pods on the peat pot plant.
"Fortex" 8/1 the snaps are excellent. 8/28 even the very large ones are edible. 9/04 there are still many of all sizes.
"Goose"/"Ma Williams" As of 8/5 there are snaps. 8/28 a few Goose pods are starting to turn pink. 9/20 there are loads of golden and rose pod shellies but no pods going soft yet. 9/22 there are a few drying Goose pods. 10/1 the shellies are up to 1” long and are very easy to shell. 10/10 the Goose shellies are well ahead of the Ma Williams and their leaves are starting to yellow. There are dry Goose beans but not Ma Williams.
"Kwintus" As of 7/11 the vines are 2-3 feet over the trellis tops. 8/7 the flat 5/8 inch by 9 inch snaps are tender and string free. 8/15 loads of snaps. 8/17 the 10” by 1 inch snaps are tough and inedible. 9/20 there are loads of shellies and some dry pods. Shellies are 7/8” long and slightly flattened.
"Portugal" - good germination but feeble seedlings and many died. Re-sowed some of the direct seeded ones on 6/16. 9/9 shellies on peat pot plants and more color on seeds than on the Canon City. 9/20 some of the pods on peat pot plants are drying, still ahead of Canon City. 10/10 very few of the direct seeded shellies are mature and have color. Shellies are difficult to shell.
"Snowcap" Good healthy looking seedlings but some had to be replanted on 6/10. 9/9 yellow pod shellies on peat pot plants but no color on seeds yet. 9/23 there are some dry pods and loads of 1-1/8”shellies on the peat pot plants. 10/10 the directed seeded plants are producing shellies but some of them that were planted late have pods that are still green.
"Tarbais" seedlings are very vigorous and disease free. The plants appear to want to climb on neighboring trellises instead of their own. They make bushy masses 5 feet diameter before they climb much. If they were grown on neighboring trellises, there would be no room to walk in between. Reminds me of Rose. The peat-pot plants have snaps on them as of 7/30/09. The snaps are tender and string free. 8/6 the larger snaps have strings. 8/15 the 5/8” by 7” snaps are tough and inedible. 9/9 shellies on peat pot plants. 9/20 there are many dry pods and lots of shellies on peat pot plants. The first shellies are appearing on direct seeded plants and they look like flat white limas up to 1-1/16” long. 10/10 The direct seeded plants have mostly green pods. Few shellies or dry pods.
"Tennessee Cutshort" 8/12 we tried the string free snaps. 8/22 pods swelling. Fine snaps with strings. 8/28 many are very plump with seeds and we had a mess of them tonight. Very fine beans with tender but firm pods. 9/17 first pods turning yellow. Still very fine eating at that stage. They are a late bean here. Production is good but not heavy. Plant two 14 foot rows next year instead of just one. 10/10 there are some drying pods and I was able to save seed.
"Tobacco Worm" 9/04 we had the first mess of flat 6” snaps. Very good. 9/9 the larger snaps have strings. I should have tried some after they plumped up, but did not. It was possible to save seed.
"Uncle Steve’s" 8/15 first small green and purple snaps. 9/9 the larger snaps have strings.
"Uzice Speckled Wax" 8/15 first small snaps. 8/22 large snaps. 8/28 the large snaps are string free. 9/20 some of the yellow pods have turned white with purple markings. Very nice coloration. Some of the 3/4” shellies are fully colored and might be viable seed. 10/10 There are some drying pods.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 12:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Drloyd, that was the short version of your report??? ;-)

Been offline for awhile, computer went down hard. Glad to be back, I missed you folks. :-)

This was not a good year for P. vulgaris beans here; where Drloyd had record cool, we had record rainfall... and serious flooding. My main garden slopes from one side to the other, and the lower half was under water twice. Many beans died outright, and the survivors were stunted. Those that recovered did so late, with much diminished yield. 2009 was a banner year here for beans, 2010 swung to the other extreme. There was only a brief dry planting window, many of the beans (and other vegetables) that were planned, never made it into the ground.

- "Atlas". Bush snap/shelly. One of the few bright spots, since this was a seed increase of a nearly-extinct variety. Only one seed out of 50 germinated last year (from 1998 seed!) and this year was the second generation. These were growing just above the flood waterline, and showed little stunting, producing over two pounds of dry seed. The flat Romano-type pods had light red streaks in snap stage. The pods fattened nicely, with large grayish-tan seeds w/black streaks, first dry seed in 75 days... which makes it very early for a large shelly. I want to try this again in a good year.
- Bird Egg #3. Pole shelly. Heavily stunted, with many plants lost. The survivors recovered late & ripened seed, but the seed was smaller than normal in both size & yield. Especially disappointing because this was the year to replenish my stock, and since the seed lacks vitality, I'll have to grow it again.
- Bosnian Yellow Pole. Pole wax snap. From a small sample of unknown age, only 3 plants survived. Unfortunately, while they were healthy & produced a fair amount of seed, 2 of the 3 were crosses (one green-podded, one yellow-green). Too heavily crossed, can't save this one.
- Clem & Sarah's Big Bean. Bush dry. This was planted late, and took the brunt of the rainfall while still in the ground. Have I mentioned before that white beans are especially prone to rotting under adverse conditions? Only one seed germinated out of a 24-foot row!!! That plant produced enough seed before frost to replace the original sample, so it too will be repeated next year.
- Kentucky Wonder White #191. Main pole snap. The first flush was heavily stunted, but the plants bounced back strongly in late summer, surprising me with a heavy second crop. Had me running scared, thought I was actually going to have to buy green beans this year! ;-)
- Kew Blue. Pole purple snap. This was meant as a trial against Trionfo Violetto, but TV was bumped this year. Long, flat, 6" purple pods in clusters of 4-6. Very productive; but there is color variation in the seed, so I'll need to consult with the original source to determine if this could be the result of crossing.
- King Horticultural. Pole shelly/dry. Like the Bird Egg, heavily stunted. A few plants recovered late, but produced little dry seed. Will have to grow again.
- Maradan Hill. Pole wax snap. One of the least stunted in the main plot, it produced a very heavy pod set, some of which I ate as snaps. The nearly spherical black seeds are fairly small, but were tasty as shellies.
- PI 110233 (Burundi). Pole dry. Planted from a 2004 sample, only a few sprouted, and those were spindly & weak. They managed to produce 2 ounces of seed that looks like pinkish Pintos. Will try again.
- Serbian Pole. Pole snap/shelly. Sent to me as a bush, but produced 6' runners... apparently, another of those minimally aggressive climbers (which seems to be a common trait in shellies). 6" pods had rich Romano flavor as snaps, but went on to produce large shellies of outstanding quality. Dry seed tri-colored, all-white belly, brown patch w/red streaks surrounding hilum. The shellies were 1" long, potato-like in texture, and exceptionally sweet. Looks to be a "keeper", if the yield improves. Will grow again next year in quantity.
- Soissons Vert. Pole shelly/dry. My biggest disappointment, since I had planted 60 feet of row in anticipation of collecting a lot of dry seed. In the heart of the flood zone, over half of the plants died, with most of the survivors heavily stunted. The last 3 feet of one row recovered, and produced only enough seed for preservation. Will need to grow again.
- Succotash. Pole dry. A very aggressive multi-branched vine, 10' or longer. Very long season; I was harvesting dry seed from some beans before these even bloomed! The pods were promising, with the fat-pea appearance of Striped Cornfield... but the shelly quality was poor. Deep purple (not maroon) seed that resembles red corn when dry, but this appears to be no more than a novelty.

- Madagascar. Pole/large seeded. Large red & white seeds similar to Christmas. The yield wasn't great, but it was grown on new ground in a bad year.

(Did you catch that, Jimster... I'm still digging up lawn! Pretty soon I'll have to start pulling up stumps... ;-)

- Sieva. Pole/small seeded. Commercial sources dried up last year, so Fusion had suggested that I grow a large seed crop. I put in 60 feet of row, and had a great stand; but the heavy rains & flooding stunted the vines. They recovered fully when the soil dried out, but the maturity had been pushed back so far that I only got about 1.5 pounds of dry seed before frost.

Trials between the beans Dolloff and Golden Lima, and between Ma Williams, Goose, and Pumpkin Bean, never made into the ground. Nor did either of my planned runner beans, Bianco de Spagna and Grammy Tilley. I've never had so much bare ground since I began gardening. The four plants that I allow to volunteer - cleome, Zebrina mallow, martynia (devil's claw) and litchi tomato - filled those areas. Overall, my bean crop was about 25% of normal, my worst year ever.

I'll follow Drloyd's lead, and post last year's bean observations... but I need to transfer the document (among many others) from the hard drive of the dead computer.

All was not gloom & doom. Where beans languished, yardlongs & soybeans produced some of their best yields ever. More detail on other threads.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 3:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Zeedman thank you for the report. I was getting concerned - this thread had been going for well over a month and not a word from you!

It was the short version because the original had things like when the first blossoms appeared. So I trimmed it down.

I have your 2009 results as a Word file and can post them or email them to you if necessary. - Dick

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Drloyd, my computer crashed in October, after several weeks of only staying on for 15 minutes at a time. Frustrating, especially when that followed up a frustrating season.

I appreciate your offer to post my 2009 report, and will take you up on it. I saved a copy of the file as well, but I'm not sure how long it will take to retrieve it.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good to see you Zeedman! I got good results on the Birds Egg #3, got many pods from only two surviving plants, but many of the seeds in the pods were malformed. There were malformed seeds in other bean varieties as well. I think it is from a fertilizer I was using. But I got some seeds, enough for next year and can send you some too if you need them.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 2:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Happy, your results with "Bird Egg #3" mirror my own. When I mentioned above that this year's seed "lacks vitality", I was referring to undersized, deformed seed. After culling for obvious defects, I still have over 2 pounds of dry seed... but it is not as large or full as most years.

I don't think your malformed seed was due to fertilizer; rather, I believe that it was due to stunting & root damage caused our record heavy rains.

With large, healthy bean seed, I count on good germination for at least 5 years of storage. The wider spacing that I use generally encourages larger, fatter seed. This year, however, poor weather trumped culture... beans don't like wet feet, and really don't like being flooded. All of my bean seed this year had a high percentage of culls, with the highest percentage of culls in large-seeded varieties. I doubt that this BE#3 seed will be good for more than 2-3 years, so I will re-grow it as soon as possible.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 2:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

I was browsing the website of Heritage Harvest Seeds in Canada and noticed 'Limelight 1968'. It looks like an interesting bush shelly candidate. Have any of you grown it? Could it possibly be the same/similar to what some of you grow as "Clem and Sarah's Big Bean"?

Here is a link that might be useful: Limelight 1968

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Heritage Harvest Seeds is a Canadian company with a really great selection of heirloom beans. The owner is an SSE member, and has requested several seeds from me over the years (one of which is right above "Limelight").

I've looked at "Limelight" before, because it appears to be a bush bean very similar to a pole bean that I grow, "Tetovac". That bean has wide, flat, pure white seeds that closely resemble "Sieva" limas in the green shell stage... which matches the description of "Limelight".

"Clem & Sarah's Big Bean" is also pure white & has large beans, but the seed is fatter, more like "Cannellini" or the heirloom pole "Brita's Foot Long". "C&S" appears to have a very large yield potential, my single surviving plant this year had a heavy pod set... but it was planted late, and most were still hanging when the frost took it. Got enough dry seed to plant next year, but not enough to taste. :-(

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 2:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Zeedman, we also got record early rains. There were a few storms early on where we got over 5 inches in a few hours. But my garden is on top of a hill, and we had dry warm conditions toward the end of the summer, including a wonderful long Indian summer that lasted well into November.

Some beans look small/stunted, but the unusual malformation seen in several varieties is a overlarge size, like a double yolk egg, including many with asymmetrical bulges and dents, as if one cotyledon but not the other was double sized. These weird beans were kept separate to be planted next year and see if the malformation affects germination or vigor. The BE3 was badly affected with hardly any symmetrical beans, also badly affected were the Bosnian Pole and Aunti Vi Italians. I gave the Mongetes del Ganxet the heaviest fertilization, hoping to force this long season bean to finish on time, and got lots of beans, but none were malformed.

I think this was due to my spraying with high phosphorus fertilizer and Sevin every other week, and it looks like some beans have the genetics to allow malformation under overfeeding while some resist malformation despite overfeeding.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 7:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

- "Atlas" / bush, originally from Vermont Bean, sent to me by a GW member for preservation. The seed was 10 years old, and I was only able to get one out of 50 to germinate. That single plant, however, produced over 80 very large buff & deep maroon striped seeds, dry in 98 days. Appears to have potential as a shelly... but I couldn't eat any, since I saved them all for seed. Will multiply it further next year.

- "Brita's Foot Long" / pole. Described in greater detail earlier in this thread, this year's crop was to replenish my seed stocks.

- "Bosnian Pole", a strong climber from another GW swap, originally collected in Bosnia. 65 days snap/95 days dry. This was its second year, since I couldn't eat any last year... only had 5 seeds to start with, and squirrels killed all but one!!! Much better luck this year; they turned out to be a delicious, thick & meaty Romano type snap with flat 5-6" pods. Stayed completely stringless for a long time. The shellies were nearly round, about 3/4" wide, and sweet. The dry seed is black & white striped initially, but some of the white darkens to gray as it dries, while some patches remain pure white. This was one of my highest dry seed yields ever, over 8 pounds from 20 feet of row.

- "Chester" (a.k.a. "Flagg") / pole, from an SSE member. I think "Flagg Pole" has kind of a ring to it ;-). The seed was fairly old (been putting this one off for a few years) so I started them in pots to get a better stand, and ended up with 9 plants. Despite the rather wispy appearance of the vines, they yielded fairly well, with 6.5" tan pods w/5-7 black & white striped seeds that look like small limas, and some of my earliest dry seed at 90 days. It was rather hard to identify the pods in shelly stage, the changes to the pod when ripe are not as pronounced as most beans. When cooked, the large shellies keep all of their black coloration, and are as attractive as they are delicious. I won't wait as long to grow this again.

- "Chicklet" / pole, from a GW member, originally from Sicily. Very rampant vines, to 10' or more. Small 4" pods contain 7-8 fat beige seeds, with a cutshort appearance. The dry pods shrink down tightly over the seed, and are difficult to shell... but offer outstanding protection against moisture. The shellies, while fairly small & difficult to shell, have a very pleasant egg-like flavor. Unfortunately, like "Rose" last year, it had a very late DTM for dry seed, at 113 days. Got a little dry seed, and a lot of shellies.

- "Cornfield, Striped" half-runner pole, from an SSE member. Probably my biggest surprise this year, since the dry seed I received was unremarkable. The vines were very slow to climb, but heavily branched in the first 2 feet. Short 3.5" pods were borne abundantly; OK as snaps, but it would be a waste to use them that way. The incredibly fat shellies are packed tightly in the pods like giant red & white peas, and have a sweet flavor. The dry seed closely resembles "King Horticultural", and only 7 plants produced over 5 pounds of seed - my highest yield per plant this year.

- "Emerite" / pole snap, from Vermont Bean. OK, this was not a shelly... but it was my main crop snap this year, and did exceptionally well. Closer spacing this year (thin to hills of 2 @ 12") overcame the relatively low yield I experienced previously. Excellent quality, very firm even after canning. Was able to get a lot of dry seed.

- "Jimenez" / pole, from a GW swap, originally from Thompson & Morgan. A slightly different spelling, but I verified it from the seed packet. Last year, squirrels & a ground hog left me with only one ripe pod. Started those 5 seeds in pots, got 3 plants, and grew them under cages for seed. As often happens, will have to multiply it further next year before I can evaluate it.

- "Ma Williams" / pole, grown for seed replenishment & as my main crop shelly. Did very well this year, in spite of the heavy rains... 30+ pints of frozen shellies, and over 3 pounds of dry seed.

- "Monterosa" / bush, from the USDA. Buff & maroon seeds very similar in appearance to "Atlas", but much smaller, more like a very large pinto. While I was disappointed in their size, they ripened very early; nearly all dry at 90 days. Grew them on a plot of rather poor fertility (next to my garage) so may try them again under better conditions.

- "Porcelain" (a.k.a. "Snowcap") / pole, same SSE source as "Chester". Another one I've been putting off for several years. 6" round pods w/ 5-6 very large red & white striped seeds. Some of the white fades to tan as the seed dries, leaving a pure white patch opposite the hilum - hence "Snowcap". The shellies are very large, and the yield was high... but to my great disappointment, I found their flavor to be inferior.

- "Tetovac" / pole, from a really great seed swap with a GW member, originally collected in Serbia. This was one of two white beans sent to me with that name, the other (still ungrown) appears to be a runner. Rampant, heavily-branched vines, with flat 6" pods that quickly became fibrous. Each contained 5-6 white, wide, flat seeds that resemble "Seiva" limas, but larger. Unusual appearance as a shelly, very flat - and sometimes curled like a potato chip - but 1" wide. Excellent flavor, and the thin skin doesn't burst easily when cooked. I think this could be a good pole "Cannellini" substitute. 105 days to dry.

- "Zlatac" / pole wax, from SSE, originally from the Czech Republic. Straight, flattened 5" yellow pods that remain completely stringless in all stages. I enjoyed their flavor as snaps, and again as very fat shellies of fine quality & sweet flavor. They have a fine texture, and a thin, tender skin which doesn't crack.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Thanks, Drloyd! I had received the copy you emailed, but was unable to open it, since don't presently have Word on my new computer.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 2:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Zeedman, OpenOffice is free and reads Word documents.

Here is a link that might be useful: Open Office

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 2:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Drloyd and others,

How were the Tarbais beans as shellies? Are they worth growing as shellies, or only as dry beans?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 2:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alas, I do not find anything in my notes about a taste test for Tarbais shellies. (blush). Jimster grows them and he may have tried them as shellies.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Ok, guys, I get it now.

Just finished eating some 'Giant Red Tarka' shellies for the second time this week and it is difficult to express how good they were. I can't believe how long I have gardened and never even had a clue what shellies were nor how delicious they are. Shelly beans are truly one of the still unknown and unsung gourmet treats of the food/gardening world.

After this summer, I am thinking now how I could make space for even more shellies. Should I give up growing snaps and just focus on shellies? Should I rip out the shrubs in the back yard to make more space for an extra trellis of 'Soissons Vert' and an extra row of 'Giant Red Tarka'?

I don't think I will ever be able to garden in the future without planting some sort of shellies.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Ispahan, sounds like you've got a serious case of Legumania. Don't look for a cure here; we've all got it. Our Support Group will just send you more beans. ;-)

I'd definitely rip out the shrubs. Heck, I cut down several trees because they shaded one of my gardens.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 1:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you have any lawn left?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 8:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

And if you really get desperate you WILL find the space, I'm growing Somos Greek Lima on the neighbour's carport with Ma Williams right beside them. Well, you gotta do what ya gotta do :).


    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lawn? Who needs lawn? You can't eat a lawn.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Last night we picked and ate a huge mess of 'Soissons Vert' shellies again. I just served them cooked with salt, pepper and butter and they were unbelievably rich. In fact they are so rich and filling that it is almost difficult to eat a large serving. Though I wish they would stay their minty green fresh-shelled color, they become a bright Kermit or pea green when cooked that is starting to grow on me.

When picked at the proper stage, the shellies are surprisingly large and substantial. I have done a lot of experimenting this summer to find out what the "proper" stage should be, and now I feel fairly confident in picking these beauties. For those growing them for the first time, Cabrita's image near the beginning of this thread will give you a good idea of where to start although the pods do not always have such defined bulges.

It is also surprising how productive these plants have been for me. We have eaten several big messes and I have harvested plenty of seed for next year, all from about a 6 ft. row. And they continue to grow and flower from bottom to top!

I plan on growing about 3-4 times as many 'Soissons Vert' next year. Mmmm..I am already thinking of all of the different ways to eat the shellies...

Now I am wondering what other pole shellies I would like to try next year. Maybe 'Bird Egg #3'? Or 'King of the Garden' pole limas?

Yes, I definitely will be removing some shrubs next year ! :-)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 3:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I recommend Ma Williams for shellies. Also Lingua de Fuoca makes a big shellie that cooks up creamy.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Happy, Ma Williams, what color are the pods when ready to pick for shellies, mine are starting to get a bit pink on the tail ends.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Happyday, thank you for the recommendation of 'Ma Williams'. Between you, Zeedman and Drloyd all saying how wonderful it is, it is hard for me to resist. But what has made me hesitant is that the Ma Williams/Goose/Pumpkin tribe is known for crossing quite a bit. I have only a small amount of land to garden in and isolation is neither practical nor realistic for me. Have any of you noticed Ma Williams or Goose causing problems in this way?

Annette, the thread linked below contains a photo by Zeedman that shows Ma Williams pods harvested at prime shelly stage. They sure are beautiful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Goose beans

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

ispahan, thanks for the link now I know when to pick them, I'm growing mine along side Samos Greek Lima a runner out front on our neighbor's carport. We don't have much bee activity at all this year, fingers crossed neither of these will cross with what's growing out back. I didn't plant many just enough for a taste and seed. I guess if we really like them it'll be time to build a screened cage LOL.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 6:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Annette, I pick the Ma Williams for shellies when they are past filled out and fluffed and starting to get leathery. They usually do have a lot of pink on them by then.

Another big bean I'm trying this year is Jimenez, it makes a big long bean with a lot of red color on the pod, even early on at the snap stage. It's big enough that it might make a nice big shelly, though I haven't opened any yet so haven't tried it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 10:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ispahan, I don't know why it's said that Ma Williams is prone to crossing. I've grown it for several years now and have never seen a cross. I used to grow it right next to other beans without crossing. As far as I know, it is no more likely to cross than any other common bean.

The only cross I've ever had that I was aware of, was from last year when I had two runner beans going about 100 feet or more apart. From now on I will only grow one runner bean per year.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Annette, here in the PNW the pods turn a beautiful combination of gold and pink. As Happyday says, they are best when the pods get leathery. Hopefully ours will make it.

I do have problems with crossing with this one. - Dick

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 11:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looked at my beans today and have lots of Ma Williams that are at the pink on white leathery stage, just like Zeedmans pic, so think I will be having a dish of shellies soon!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 11:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

2011 Shelly Report, short version.
April, May, June and most of July were unusually cold and wet. Some beans were started in pots on 5/20 and they and the rest as sprouted seeds were planted out on 5/31. The last few days of July and most of August and September were very nice with many days above 75 degrees. No killing frost as of 10/22.

Bush beans:
Clem and Sarah�s Big Bean, shelly.* Sturdiest bush seedlings in the cold spring. 8/27 a few turning yellow, 9/24 half are drying and half are mature kidney bean shaped shellies up to 1" long. The drying beans hold up good in the rain. Shellies have fine flavor and texture. Good crop. 10/15 There are still usable shellies.
Clem's Purple, a single plant found in the Clem and Sarah's Big Bean patch. The beautiful shellies are purple with pale purple streaks and are up to an inch long and over 1/2 inch wide and plump. They do not hold up in the rain � pods get leathery and then rot. I did save seed.
Crow River Black, shelly.* 8/25 Black shellies are up to one inch long and shaped like kidney beans. 9/8 picked some dry seed. Good taste and thin skin. 9/24 half are drying and half are mature shellies. Heavy crop.
Giant Red Tarka (USDA PI 507984), shelly. 9/8 some are mature. 9/16 most pods are yellow, a few dry. 9/24 half are drying and half are mature shellies. Good crop and we froze many quarts.
Golden Valley, shelly.* I had only 6 old seeds, 5 were viable. Very feeble and frail seedlings in the cold spring. 8/10 plants look good with lots of pods. 8/25 some mature shellies. 9/8 picked some dry seed which is pale yellow with gold streaks. Shellies are 3/4" long. Good taste. 9/24 all are dry.
Serene, shelly.* 8/25 some mature with very fat pods. 9/8 picked some dry seed, all shellies appear to be mature. Shellies are 3/4" long and very plump. Fine taste. 9/24 Most go from mature shelly to rotting without drying.
Stockbridge Indian, shelly.* 9/14 the 7/8" long plump red and cream shellies have good flavor and texture. 9/24 half are drying and half are mature shellies. The drying pods hold up good. Good crop.

Pole Runner:
Bond�s Orcas Lima (runner). 8/6 Snaps are good. 9/24 some are drying and many are mature shellies which are up to 1 1/4 inch long, thin skinned with fairly good flavor. 10/20 Harvest is complete. They tolerate rain well. 10/22 There are a few usable shellies.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 4:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pole Common Beans:
Big Greasy (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly).* Heavy foliage. 8/10 some small usable snaps. 9/4 had a mess of these. Good flavor. 9/24 some are drying. 10/15 mostly dry, few usable snaps.
Bingo, shelly. Medium foliage. 9/22 medium bearer in this weather. The very plump 1" long shellies have maroon streaks on an off-white background. They cook quickly and have good flavor and texture. 9/24 many mature shellies. 10/1 half are drying. 10/17 picked the last of the shellies. Fine late shelly that we enjoyed most nights for almost a month.
Black and White Greasy Bean Mix.* Very slow climber even on 8/1. Still struggling on 8/15. 9/11 the first blossoms! 9/24 some tiny snaps. Heavy foliage eventually. Not suited for here. 10/1 pods are still small so no chance to save seed. 10/15 no mature beans. Sorry George!
Borlotta Solista, shelly.* Medium foliage. 9/10 some mature shellies. 9/15/11 shellies have fine flavor and texture. They are about 1" long, some up to 1 1/8". Slightly larger than B. Stregonta. Maroon on cream. 9/24 some are drying.
Borlotta Stregonta, shelly. Medium foliage 9/16 some shellies ready. About 1 " with a few to 1-1/8" long dark maroon on tan. 9/24 some are drying.
Bosnian Pole, Romano type snap and shelly.* Heavy foliage. Very late to blossom. 8/27/11 some fairly large snaps. 9/24 some pods are yellow. 10/12 large numbers of mature shellies. They do not dry under the heavy foliage. After pods get flexible they start to rot. 10/16 picked the rest of the shellies. Many were rotten. They really need to be harvested as they turn yellow. Great shellies.
Brita�s Footlong, snap and shelly. Medium foliage. Aggressive climber in the cold spring and July. First greasy looking snaps 8/13. 9/11 some flexible pods. 9/24 some are drying. 9/30 picked many dry pods and froze several quarts. 10/18 last of the usable shellies.
Cornfield, Striped, shelly. Light foliage. Vines are not aggressive climbers and do not bear heavily here. 8/7 there are edible snaps. 9/24 fine shellies. Some are drying. Pods are very hard to shell until they soften and then they quickly dry. 10/15 all are dry.
Dolloff, shelly.* Medium foliage. 9/4 some are turning yellow! 9/7 a few mature beans. 9/10 some drying pods. 9/11 many drying pods. The 7/8 inch flat shellies have good taste and texture. 9/24 most are drying, even those direct planted. 10/18 picked and enjoyed the last of the usable shellies.
Goose, shelly. Medium foliage. 9/16 some flexible pods. 9/24 most are mature shellies up to 1" long and over 1/2 inch wide. 10/5/11 picked many gallons of pods for shellies. The rest are too dry for shellies.
Grady Bailly Greasy.* Very heavy foliage. 8/10 some usable purple snaps on one purple blossom vine. A few small beans on vines with yellow blossoms. No pods look greasy. 9/15 there are a few greasy beans in one vine for at least 3 total kinds from that seed. 9/22 loads of small greasy snaps.
Kwintus, snap and shelly. Medium foliage. Very aggressive climber in the cold spring and July. 8/10 quality 6 inch snaps look greasy. 8/13 8 inch by 1/2 inch snaps still look greasy. 9/21 kidney bean shaped shellies, some more than 7/8". They have good flavor and texture. 10/1 there are many drying pods. 10/12 Picked and enjoyed the last of the shellies. Most pods are too dry to use as shellies.
Neon Goose, shelly. One Goose vine has long "shocking pink" pods with pink and pale purple shellies with maroon streaks up to 1" long. These shellies are also thin skinned and tasty but slower to mature than regular Goose. 10/1 some pods are drying. 10/14 picked the last of the "Neon Goose" pods which were flexible but not dry yet. Drying pods do not tolerate repeated rain well. The dry beans are Goose drab with maroon streaks.
North Carolina Speckled Long Greasy Cutshort (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly.* Heavy foliage. 8/31 had a mess of very tasty plump beans. Pods tend to fall apart when unzipped and cooked. 9/24 some are drying. 10/1 many of the mature pods are very fat and look just like greasy version of Tennessee Cutshort with maroon streaks. Picked a few dozen drying pods. 10/18 many are still usable. 10/22 There are a few usable snaps.
Tennessee Cutshort (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly.)* Medium foliage. 8/25 first semi-plump pods. 8/26 had a nice mess of fat pods. Great taste. 9/24 some are drying.
Tobacco Worm (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly).* Medium foliage. 9/11 some nearly mature pods with very fine eating qualities. 9/24 some are drying. 10/22 There are still a few usable mature yellow snaps. They still taste great.
Uzice Speckled Wax, wax and shelly. Heavy foliage and heavy crop. First mess of snaps 8/15. Some up to 1" wide and 7" long. All were tender and stringless. 10/1 Many pods are turning purple so the shellies are mature and the seeds are viable. The shellies are less than 1/2 inch to almost 7/8 inch long and are good quality. 10/12 most are at mature shelly stage but are not drying under the heavy leaf cover. They get flexible and then rot. 10/22 There are still a few usable shellies.
White Simpson Greasy (eaten when seeds swell, as combination snap/shelly).* Medium foliage. 8/10 some usable snaps. 9/3 had a nice mess of plump tasty snaps. The unzipped pods tend to fall apart when cooked. 9/24 some are drying. 10/8 many are still usable as snaps. 10/15 almost all are dry. 10/22 There are a few usable snaps. These are probably the earliest greasy to make lots of dry seeds that I have trialed.

*Some of these were started in peat pots.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 4:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Great report Drloyd, lots of useful information. I was most interested in what you had to say about the greasies and how they did in the PNW, I have yet to grow any, next year :).
We've had a couple of light frosts but no killing frost yet. I haven't pulled my Samos Greek Limas yet, they're still flowering and forming small beans but it's too late in the year for them to amount to anything. We haven't eaten any as shellies but as a green bean they were very tender and delicious. Planted earlier this is another bean that will do quite well here.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 1:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cabrita(9b SoCal)

Yes Annette, I wish someone closer to my zone grew so many varieties and gave such good reports!

This season I was able to taste three new beans as shellies (new to me) they were a treat. I was able to eat some and multiply the seed, I will plant them again for sure! These were mongetes del ganxet, black jungle butter beans, and bianco di spagna. All are still forming new pods, the BJBB going the strongest, it was also the latest getting productive. All were taste treats and so different from one another. I have been interplanting species to avoid crossing, and this way I also stagger harvesting the delicious little morsels.

I was not successful with the goose beans (watering issue) or giant red tarka (got eaten by some critter-squirrel?), have more seed for the latter, might come back begging for some more goose beans next spring.

I had very few seed for gold of bacau, so planted just to multiply the seed. Tasting a couple confirmed it as my favorite yellow bean. I would not call it a wax bean though, it has a flattened cross section and pods are very long. I also planted Kentucky wonders, both for seed and to eat. Ate and pickled a whole bunch. I also planted some rattlesnake beans, to try in my garden and multiply seed if nothing else. They are still growing, have not flowered yet.

Preparing the soil to plant different pea varieties - got 7, two known ones and 5 new/mysteries. Peas as shellies, and as edible pods. How to plant all 7 separately to avoid crosses? a challenge, but I will try.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 7:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I will try this question here, before starting a thread.
What is your fave shellies?
How many hills/rows do you have to plant to get a pound of dry beans?
I have the raw land for beans, but I am unsure of how much to till to get a store of beans to eat.
Also how far apart should I plant seed beans from other like seed/eating bean to prevent crossing?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Most of the beans were shellies or at least were eaten when the pods were full of mature seeds so I will put the report here again.

5/20/12 started some beans in peat pots. 5/31 put beans on to soak and planted them all out on 6/2. After a nice May, June was unseasonably cold and wet. 7/5 seasonal daytime temperatures started. Nights were below normal most of the summer. Most of September had above average days but nights continued unusually cold with a 32F frost on 9/12! The first week of October there were several unusually cold nights at 29-30F but many of the beans continued to produce. Even the 27F frost on 10/22 did not totally end the bean season.

Bush beans:
Candy, shelly. They are very late and have runners. Very large and dense aggressive bushes. 10/10 some of these are maturing. Very nice large and plump shellies, red on cream maturing to red on pink. Some are just over an inch long. They are too late for here.
Clem and Sarah's Big Bean, shelly. Most of them died in the cold wet June. 9/8 some pods are turning yellow.
Clem's Purple, a single plant found in the Clem and Sarah's Big Bean patch in 2011. 9/8 some are turning yellow. 9/15 some drying out. Shellies are up to one inch long and are all purple, all white, purple speckles on white or white streaks on purple. Very attractive mix and they have good flavor and texture. The plants did far better than the white version in the cold wet June.
Crow River Black, shelly. 9/8 some are turning yellow. 9/15 some drying out. Shellies have good flavor but firm texture. 9/30/12 finished the harvest. 2 gallons of dry pods plus shellies. Large plants with up to 44 pods on a plant.
Duane Baptiste Potato Bean, shelly. 9/8 some pods are turning yellow. 9/15 Picking dry pods. Shellies are 1 inch long and have good flavor and texture.
Family, shelly. 9/8 some are turning yellow. 9/15 some drying out. 9/22 plump shellies are dark red with cream splotches and are up to 7/8 inch long. Not a large crop.
Giant Red Tarka (USDA PI 507984), shelly. Crop failure in cold wet June. The killer zombie slugs apparently got them.
Golden Valley, shelly. 9/8 many are turning yellow. 9/15 Picking dry pods. Shellies are up to 3/4 inch long and they have good flavor and texture.
Marveille de Piemonte, shelly. Sprouted seeds are small. 9/8 some are turning yellow. The plants were tiny. 9/29 the few pods are drying but the seeds do not look mature.
Stockbridge Indian, shelly. 9/8 most pods are yellow. 9/15 Picked half a bucket of dry pods so far. The shellies have good flavor and texture. 9/29 picked the last of them, 2 gallons. Mostly dry. Plants are large and robust. Total of 2-1/2 gallons of dry pods and 1 gallon of shelly pods from 24 feet of row. This was the best bush shelly this year.

Bianco di Spagna.* 9/15 a few are drying out. 10/6/12 picked 2 gallons of dry pods. 10/16 there are still lots of shellies. 10/21 Picking more dry pods.

Pole Beans:
Anellino Giallo black seed wax shrimp bean. 8/21 Several turned yellow and they have good flavor. 9/7 Crop is fairly heavy and even the most mature pods are stringless. 9/18 pods are swelling with maturing black seeds and they are still string free, tender and tasty. DW loves them. 9/30 a few pods are becoming flexible. 10/7 the hulls develop maroon streaks and splotches as seeds mature. They are very slow to dry but a few pods are starting to dry finally. 10/20 there are still lots of good plump snaps and I picked the drier ones for seed. 10/25 the drying pods are still fine snaps, fat with black seeds. This is a winner.
Bingo*, shelly. 9/1 a few of the 8 inch pods are starting to soften. 9/8 first mess of mature shellies. 9/15 some drying out. 9/30/12 Picked a gallon of dry pods. 10/20 picked the rest of the shellies. This is a fine bean that makes good shellies over almost a two month period.
Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco, shelly. 9/30 they are very slow to mature. None are soft yet. 10/14 Some look mature. 10/20 Picked almost 2 gallons of shellies from half a trellis (7 feet of row). Many of those I picked turned out to be not yet mature. Not suited for here. They did fine in Seattle but they have basically failed here twice.
Borlotta Stregonta, shelly. Two 14 foot trellises. 9/30 - 5 gallons of dry pods from one trellis. Many shellies left. 10/6/12 another 8 gallons of dry pods from both trellises. Picked 5 gallons of shelly pods.
Bosnian Pole, Romano type snap and shelly. 8/25 loaded with snaps. 10/8 most are at shelly stage or are drying, picked 4 gallons of shelly and dry pods. 10/20 picked most of the rest of the shellies.
Brita's Footlong*, snap and shelly. 8/10 some 9" snaps but I did not try them. 9/15 some drying out. 9/29 many are dry, picked 2 gallons of dry pods. 10/16 there are still lots of shellies. 10/20 most are too dry to use as shellies. 10/25 a few shellies left.
Chabarosk, shelly. Hulls look very similar to New Hampshire, dark green and purple. 10/5/12 a few are drying. 10/20 shellies look identical to New Hampshire except they are slightly smaller. Few are 7/8 inch and they are later. Many are not mature yet.
Dolloff*, shelly. 9/1 a few pods are turning yellow. 9/5 a couple pods are drying. Good shellies and great as a dry bean. 9/29 Picked 5 gallons of dry pods from 3 trellises. 10/6 another 5 gallons of dry pods. 10/16 there are still lots of shellies. 10/20 the rest are too dry to use as shellies.
Emerite, snap. 8/8 first Emerite. 10/6 picked a gallon of dry pods.
Fortex*, snap 8/7 first mess of Fortex. 9/29 Late (planted July 7) Fortex are still good but we are running out. 10/10 there are still some usable late Fortex. I was able to save seed.
Goose, shelly 9/29 Some are drying.
Kew Blue, snap. 8/12 there are a few snaps. 8/21 we cooked a mess and they have ok flavor. 8/25 loaded with snaps. 9/29 many are drying.
Kwintus, snap and shelly. 8/10 7" flat greasy looking snaps. 9/29 many are dry. Picked 2 gallons of dry pods from 5 feet of row. 10/16 there are still lots of shellies.10/25 there are a few shellies still usable.
Neon Goose*, shelly. 9/1/12 a few are bright pink and softening. What a mix of types! 10/6 picked them all, 2-1/2 gallons of dry and shelly pods from half a trellis (7 foot row).
New Hampshire, shelly. 9/29 about 1/3 are dry. Hulls are dark green and purple. 10/16 there are still lots of shellies. The tasty 7/8 inch shellies are very plump and cream with purple streaks. They continue drying in the rain. 10/20 most are dry.
North Carolina Speckled Long Greasy Cutshort.*, snap 9/7 starting to plump up. 9/30 only one turning yellow. 10/13 A few are drying out. 10/20 there are still loads of snaps and a few that are dry. This is now the main source of snaps and DW likes them. 10/25 still loads of snaps.
Tennessee Cutshort*, snap. 8/18 Many are plump. 9/8 A few turning yellow. 9/30 half are dry. 10/6 all are dry.
Tobacco Worm*, snap. 9/8 a few are yellow and drying. 9/15 some drying out. They are very fine eating even when the pods are completely yellow. 10/20 there are still a lot of snaps but most are dry. 10/25 all are drying.
Volga German Siberian, shelly. 3-4 foot half-runner vines. 9/1 pink pods are softening. 9/8 first mess of tasty � inch shellies. 9/15 some are drying out. 9/29 all are dry.
White Simpson Greasy, snap. 9/29 Many are softening. DW likes the younger green ones as snaps. 9/30 several are dry. 10/4 they are very good quality even when all yellow. 10/10/12 On this trellis, there is one vine with black seeded striped hull greasy beans with fine flavor and texture. They do have strings. Some of these are drying. No!!! (Sound of one hand slapping the other hand.) Do not eat any more of these!! Save the rest for seed!! 10/25 there are still some usable snaps on the whites seeded plants but most are drying.
*Some of these were started on peat pots. - Dick

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 5:19PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Black spots on my string beans
For the past 3 years my beans will look beautiful and...
if you don't like getting emails every time someone replies...
Click on "Your Houzz", Edit Profile, Advanced...
black gandules
Hi, does anyone know where I can find black gandules?...
Insuk's Wang Kong (red scarlet runners) part 2
I am the one that wrote the last post, so I am starting...
Japanese Sword Beans
Anyone grow these. Kitizawa seed company offers them....
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™