The Beans I grew this year

aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. CanadaOctober 4, 2012

The growing season is winding down there are only three varieties still plugging along in the garden, Blue Greasy Grit, Barksdale and the Gigandes. I gathered a handful of dried Barksdale seed yesterday with more on the way. This has been a stellar bean for me this year, what do they say 3rd year's a charm? This has to be my favorite wax bean to date.

Blue Greasy Grit (8 Plants).... First year growing and planted late this one has really produced for me, the vines are still loaded with usable snaps, fingers crossed some will have enough time to mature into seed, if not I have enough seed for another season. (Note to self, Plant earlier).

Gigandes ( I think 20 plants).... Planted early enough, seemed to be a weak grower at first that is until they exploded into growth, it's a jungle out there. Mega flowering but the first flush all dropped except for one or two. Second flush, some beans formed then the heat hit at the wrong time and the rest of the flowers dropped. Third flush of flowers took, lots of beans formed with quite a few at the shelly stage now (so far at the shelly stage the beans are measuring just under 1 1/2 inches) I only have about a dozen dried seed picked so far hoping for a lot more. More interested in getting seed this year than eating them.

Now the others, again most were grown for seed.

Serbian Pole (5 plants)....I finally got my hands on 10 seeds, grew 5, they grew well and produced a fair amount of seed, the leaves on the lower part of the vines had some white markings, don't know if this is the nature of the beast, growing conditions (it was still pretty cool out) or something else. I started one more and grew it in the greenhouse, the leaves look good and the beans it produced are well on their way to seed.

Grandma's Yugoslavian (grew 4 plants)....A temporary name I gave them, got the seed from a member of our garden club. No other information other than someone's grandmother brought them over from Yugoslavia with her when she immigrated. These look suspiciously like the Serbian Poles I had so much trouble finding seed for both in freshly harvested seed and the beans themselves. Wouldn't it be something if I had Serbian Pole all along and didn't know it.

Uzice Speckled Wax (4 plants).... Grown just for seed they produced just under 1/2 lb. dried seed. The pods are really pretty when maturing pale yellow with purple along one edge. Haven't tasted these yet, next time.

Selma Zebra (grew 4 Plants).... didn't do so good with this one, the spot where I had them planted was a little too shady but managed to get a few seeds, this one looks suspiciously like the 'Swiss Landfrauen' I grew in both pod and seed. didn't have enough of either of these beans to taste.

Swiss landfrauen (4 plants).... Grown for seed in a half barrel, something ate two and the other two grew away from their poles and before long were playing cozy with a climbing rose, needless to say I've only picked a couple of pods for seed so far. Very similar to 'Selma Zebra' in both pod, seed and growth habit.

Cherokee Trail of Tears (main crop).... what can I say good old reliable, bumper crop, we ate the heck out of them, one of DH's favorites, produced lots of seed and there's more I just have to pick them.

Bosnian Pole (8 Plants).... Was growing them to eat until I looked at my seed stash, didn't realize I had given so many away. We might have only had them once for supper but I now have 14ozs. of dried seed to add to my stash. This is one of our favorite beans.

Irish Conners (8 plants).... This bean came from the Populuxe Seed Bank, I returned half the seed I harvested back to the bank. Another I grew for seed so we didn't eat any.

This is what I know about this bean....

Ken Conners was born in Ireland in 1898, his family immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1900, and then again moved to New Brunswick, Canada in 1907, They made their way out west and settled in the Vancouver B.C. area. The family is still around but in the interior of B.C. The seed color is a rich chestnut brown when fully dried, The plants are moderately large (6ft.), white flowers, pods are straight, 6-8inches long with 6-8 beans per pod, uses snap or dry. Not one for high heat, early producer. Dry in 70-80 days.

Turkey Craw (4 plants).... Grown for seed this year, want to try leather britches, it is said to be a good variety for this. These 4 plants produced quite a bit of seed.

Jeminez (4 Plants).... Grown for seed which are already picked, these were banished from the garden and grown on my neighbor's carport because of their promiscuous nature. I now have enough seed to grow for a couple of years without worrying about seed.

San Antonio (4 plants, something ate two :( ).... Grown for seed and will do so again next year. This bean originally came from the Heritage Seed Library in the UK. From what I've read it can be used as a snap when young but better as a shelly.

Kew Blue (4 plants).... Again grown for seed and to do a comparison with 'Purple Italian Marconi Stringless' They are definitely different beans. Haven't tasted this one yet, another year.

Purple Italian Marconi Stringless (8 plants).... Grown for seed but did manage to eat a few, delicious will grow again next year.

Wood Mountain Crazy beans (8 plants)..... Grown strictly for the seed, I've got to stop giving these away they are so tasty.

Black Jungle Butter Beans (4 plants).... grown in the greenhouse they produced enough beans for a couple of meals and enough seed for next year I'm hooked, they are delicious.

Chinese Red Noodle (4 Plants).... grown in the greenhouse a complete flop not even one flower :) We had a couple of feeds the first time I grew them, really enjoyed them but I don't think I'll be growing these again, use the space for BJBB's instead :)

The next 3 I just grew samples of, two potato beans Deseronto and Duanne Baptiste to compare pods and seed. Regal Salad to see if they tasted as good as they're supposed to raw, they do. I only have so much room.

Received a couple more varieties originally from the Heritage Seed Library in the UK which I hope to grow next year all going well.

Mustn't forget the 'Shiraz' snow peas.... we are now snacking on peas grown from seed harvested from the first planting, what can I say other than we love them, a tasty, crunchy and even sweeter this time around snow pea, pretty too.

How about you, how did your season go?????


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hementia8(8 MS)

Annette,you seem to have the same addition as I have LOL
I had a great year,unlike last year when we had a long drought
Everything is finished except the lima beans and cowpeas
I notice you have quite a few that I do not have.
If you want to extend your addiction further,maybe we can trade
Check out my trade list

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:04PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

The season is over for me as of tonight, but I still have quite a bit of bean seed left to shell & clean. I will post my results when everything has been weighed.

Much to the amusement of DW (who enjoys shelling beans by hand as much as I do) our living room is packed pretty much wall-to-wall with stacks of cafeteria trays of seed drying. The ceiling fan there has proven ideal for that purpose.

It was a really great year overall, especially for Vignas, limas, and my soybean collection; I'll still be shelling them yet for at least a week or two. There's something therapeutic about shelling seeds by hand, it lessens the blow after the killing frost.

More later, after results have been tallied.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 3:21AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I forgot to mention BE#3 in this thread, this one has done extremely well also the last two years. From one pole 8 strings I harvested 1 1/2 lbs. of dry seed.

I've been watching the weather reports, our night temps are getting down there so today I'm going to pick all the Gigandes, Blue Greasy Grits and Barksdale, dry the mature ones inside on screens, blanch and freeze the rest. I will come back later with how much or how many seed I got from these three.

Charlie, I'm going to attempt emailing you, lately this function through GW hasn't been working for me.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 11:38AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

It looks like we got a reprieve on our weather for a few days, I did pick the Barksdale the pods weren't crispy dry so they're on a screen, you guessed it in the living room under a fan.

I want to leave the Gigandes as long as possible, our nights are still in the 40's, I'll cover the trellis with a comforter if it becomes necessary, on a good year I think I'd have seed picked by now.

I've picked some Blue Greasy Grits their pods are packed tight with beans, no spaces and the beans are all uniform in size, not like some others where there are some undeveloped beans. Another bean I grew and harvested seed early was the little Comtesse de Chambord, I forgot to mention that one.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:42PM
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So glad Barksdale did well for you! We had yet another record breaking wave of heat & drought. Here's hoping I can produce seed next year.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:28PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

George, those Barksdale just melt in your mouth, our favorite wax bean to date :).
We had the opposite kind of weather, prolonged winter, no spring, dull, rain, dull, rain. Summer came late but other than one hot spell it's been lovely, now we are back to dull showery days.
When summer finally arrived the rain disappeared, I think we broke the record for the length of time it didn't rain. Still very mild out, nights in the 40's. Wishing you a better growing season next year.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Anellino Giallo is a yellow wax bean that I received in a swap from a GW member. It is called a "shrimp bean" due to its unusual shrimp or fishhook shape. I did not have very high hopes for it so I just gave it seven feet of trellis which is half a trellis. DW and most of my family members think that long and slender beans like Fortex are the best anyway so would anyone even want to try it?

It began producing later than Fortex or Emerite and it turned out that it had a very pleasant flavor. It was a favorite with DW. No matter how fat with maturing seeds thay got, she kept enjoying them.

I kept waiting for them to dry. The hulls developed purple streaks but no sign of drying. They would hold on the vines for weeks. Finally the end of September some of them started to go leathery and in October a few started to dry and partially dry pods were collected for seed.

Yesterday I picked some of the partially dry stragglers and steamed them. They still had fine eating qualities - no strings, no toughness and fine flavor. Black shellies in tender hulls.

Next year some should be started in pots to make seed saving easier. - Dick

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 9:39AM
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We did manage to produce seed of Tennessee Cutshort, Woods Mountain Crazy Bean, Fowler Bush Bean and Calico Willow Leaf Pole Lima. Still, it was a very marginal year for beans.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:24AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

The cleaning & sorting are finally done, so these are the results. This will cover everything except cowpeas, yardlongs, and soybeans, so my apologies for the length.

After germinating normally, all beans, and most cowpeas, went through an extended period of stunting for most of June & part of July. The degree of stunting, and its duration, varied substantially between varieties; many were over a month behind. Because of this, I considered DTMs this year to be aberrations from the norm, and did not record them.

Common beans:
* Bird Egg #3 - pole shelly. Initial planting with 2007 seed had poor germination. I culled the sub-standard 2010 seed (over 75% was discarded) and replanted the gaps, with good results. Plant spacing was 2 @ 12" this year, to judge the effect on yield & seed size. Seed size was notably smaller. The plants recovered from stunting & really took off in late Summer. The crop was much later than normal, and much was harvested after the first light frost; but I froze 20 pints of shellies, and harvested 5 pounds of dry seed.
* Champagne - pole green snap. White seed. This was one of the first beans to recover from the stunting. When I first grew it, I observed that it had no trouble setting pods in our (admittedly moderate) heat, and that was verified in spades this year. Flat, green, Romano-type pods grew to 7-8" long, had great flavor, and the yield was heavy. However, this variety has a weakness: it is hard to get good seed from it. As in my original trial, about 75-80% of the dry seed was deformed, and had to be discarded; not sure if it is something in my soil or climate, but this is the only bean I've grown with this level of deformity, and it was repeated in different years. This might be the reason it was dropped commercially.
* Clem & Sarah's Big Bean - bush dry/shelly. Somewhat rangy bushes, recovered fairly late from stunting, but still produced a fair crop. The white seeds are long & nearly cylindrical, about 3X as long as wide, many with blunt ends. The shape is so distinctive that I could probably mix them with Great Northern, and still separate them fairly easily. Since this was a seed increase, I only ate a few shellies; but those were sweet, and of good quality.
* Czechoslovakian - pole purple snap. This was the least affected by the stunting, and growth was exceptionally vigorous in the heat. Flowering & pod set were heavy, and the pods showed no stunting whatsoever. I had previously grown this one in pots, and like Bosnian Pole before it, the increase in vigor when grown in fertile ground was striking. So was the seed increase; with over 5 pounds, it tied BE#3 for highest yield... but in only 16 feet of row, as compared to 72 for BE#3. I only ate one meal, wish I had tried freezing them.
* Dolloff - pole shelly/dry. This was quick to recover from stunting, had a heavy pod set, and was the first pole bean to produce dry seed. I would estimate its DTM at about 90 days. While the seed quality was very good, the pods had poor seed count, probably due to the heat. This means the yield potential is most likely higher than what I observed... which would make it quite high. The seed is pink as a shelly, drying down orange -> tan w/brown spots. 12 feet of row yielded 4# 3 oz.
* Fortex - pole green snap. This was severely impacted by the stunting; it was over a month late. I was picking yardlongs for several weeks before these even started (!!!) which is a reversal of what would happen in a normal year. They came on strong in September, so I was able to freeze a lot... still, the performance this year was disappointing. The row dedicated for dry seed produced 2 pounds, but more than half of the pods were still unripe when cut down by frost.
* Isla - pole shelly/dry. In habit, pod, and seed, this resembles a slightly smaller, more purplish version of True Red Cranberry... I suspect they are closely related. It has a very late DTM, and being forced to recover from a severe hail storm this year certainly didn't help. There were no dry pods before the freeze, so I picked all of the pods that day & dried the ripest ones indoors. The seed appears to be mostly OK, about a pound or so. The flavor is really good, I wish this had a shorter DTM.
* Light Brown Zebra - bush dry. This never really recovered from the stunting, and was far less vigorous than it was when I last grew it. The small seeds are beige with black stripes, held in pods which shrink down tightly around the seed as they dry & offer outstanding protection against rain. Collected a pound of seed, it should have been at least twice that.
* Poletschka - pole, uncertain use. Started as transplants. I only grew a few plants in pots, and since I was trying for maximum seed increase, I only snacked on one pod raw. Can't remember my impressions of the taste, and apparently didn't write them down. :-( Green pods that shrink down tightly as they dry, with oblong, glossy, purple-black seeds that look almost metallic. The DTM was fairly late. With 3 ounces of seed, I hope to do a larger growout next year for seed increase & evaluation.
* Portugal - pole shelly. Failed. This is a shelly similar to BE#3. The vines appeared to be diseased, so no seed was saved, and the plants were destroyed.
* Schwarze Witwe - pole wax. I'm told that the name translates as "the veil of old widows", which is a reference to the seed coloration. This was stunted in June, then severely damaged by hail in early July just as it was beginning to climb. However, the plants sprouted new runners & made an impressive recovery. Small 4-5" yellow pods, curved, completely stringless in all stages. The seed is small, very glossy, with fine buff spotting over a deep purple/black background... almost the same purple/black color as Poletschka. Nearly all seed dried before frost, so under less difficult conditions, this should do well here.
* Soissons Vert - pole shelly/dry. Finally got a large planting to mature!!! Seeds are lime green as shellies, pea green when dry. These were inexplicably trying to vine on the ground (one other pole bean did this), only beginning to climb in late July with considerable assistance on my part... after which they grew normally. They just made it before frost, but produced a heavy crop. Froze a lot of shellies (somewhere around 20 pints, I lost count) and collected over 4 pounds of dry seed.
* Uzice - semi-bush shelly/dry. As discussed on a previous thread, I had to rename this. It was originally sent to me with no name, so I called it Serbian pole, after its place of origin... only to find out that name was already being used in Canada & the U.K. for a different bean (which I hope to grow in the future). Another seed saver in Canada had obtained the same seed from my source & named it Uzice, so I have followed suit. This cultivar was severely stunted, and while it never fully recovered, it still produced an OK crop. Allegedly this is a bush variety, but grown without support, I found the 4-5 foot runners to be unruly; I will probably grow it again on a trellis. The seeds are large, and resemble a slightly smaller version of Porcelain in coloration, mostly white seeds with a patch of tan with maroon specks around the hilum. That resemblance to Porcelain does not extend to the flavor; the shellies are sweet, firm, and of excellent quality. This was a fairly large planting (39 feet of row) but because of the severe yield reduction due to stunting, I didn't freeze any. Collected 3 pounds of dry seed, though, and had a couple meals of shellies just before frost.
* Uzice Speckled Wax - pole wax. From the same GW source as Uzice above. These were started early as transplants. Like Soissons Vert, the plants were severely stunted early, and reverted to almost a bush habit until mid-July... at which time they sent out numerous creeping runners. Once trained to the trellis, these began climbing normally, and I would judge the vines as having fully recovered. Flat, curling, yellow, 6" Romano-type snaps of fine flavor. Good shellies, but had enough of other varieties that I didn't eat any. Was able to save 2.5 pounds of seed.
* Woods Mountain Crazy Bean - bush snap. Glad I tried this in a hot year! Seeds were started as transplants. While they were stunted in early June, the plants were very quick to recover, and IMO were only minimally affected. Incredibly lush foliage, forming a dense canopy over the beans; planted on 12" centers, the canopies overlapped to completely obscure the ground. The branching was very heavy, like what I would expect of a pole bean or bush lima. The root system was the most extensive I have seen from a bush bean, which probably accounts for its heat tolerance. I was actually late finding the beans, since they were not visible until I tipped a plant over to examine it! The snaps are round, creaseback, 6" long, and borne in large numbers. The flavor was exceptional (comparing favorably with Fortex) with a moderately firm texture. My only complaint would be WMCB's late DTM, which made it a challenge to get dry seed... but then, I suspect this is a bean well adapted to the South, and poorly adapted here. The heavy canopy protected most of the pods from the first few frosts, so I was able to get 8 ounces of dry seed... but over half of the pods were lost to the hard freeze. While WMCB is too late for it to be practical here as snaps, it is a great bean for those in hot climates, and I will continue to grow it for preservation.

* Cave Dweller, Black Seed Coat - bush. A black-seeded variety from SSE's collection. Started from 2007 seed as transplants (peat strips with starter mix) and had poor germination. The seeds had been planted vertically (eye down) and seemed to have trouble breaking free. Replanted in pots filled to within 3/4" from the top with packed starter mix, laid seed on its side, and covered with screened play sand. This method resulted in about 90% germination, so it will be my default method for starting limas in the future. (Makes sense when you think about it, since flat seeds in nature would naturally fall on their sides.) These were transplanted into two locations; one of poor fertility, and one of better fertility. The best location was nearly flattened by hail, but the plants resprouted vigorously, and still surpassed those in the less fertile soil that had escaped the hail! Heavily branched bushes, densely covered by flowers. The flower spikes were longer than many pole limas I've grown, flowered over a very long period, and attracted large numbers of bees & skipper butterflies. This was followed by a heavy pod set. The seeds are deep purplish black, and slightly wider & flatter than Sieva, although their seed weight was comparable (at around 60/ounce). As shellies, they had stronger flavor than Sieva, though not as strong as some (such as the Hopi limas). Nearly all ripened (even with the setback due to hail) and there was almost no shattering. From 35 plants, had several meals of butterbeans, and harvested 3.5 pounds of dry seed.
* Sieva, Mottled - pole. Started as transplants by same methods, and with same results, as above. Vigorous, heavily-branched vines; I experimented with both 24" and 30" spacing, and 24" seemed to be optimal. Fusion had suggested that I grow 75 feet of white Sieva two years ago, which failed due to weather... but I tried the same length of row this year with Mottled Sieva. With all of the extra heat, and with frequent deep irrigation, the vines were healthy & produced a good crop. While the mottling on the dry seeds was similar, there appeared to be two races; one with black mottling, and one with light maroon or lavender. The seeds are a little smaller than the white-seeded Sieva, (at 69/oz. vs. 60/oz.), and the yield did not appear to be as heavy; but about 80-90% of the pods had ripened before the killing frost. We ate a few meals, gave a lot of shellies away, and harvested just under 22 pounds of dry seed. You have no idea how much seed that is, shelled entirely by hand; by my math, I would estimate around 10,000 pods. (:-o My hats off to DW, who was absolutely tireless in that endeavor... a legumaniac after my own heart.

Runner Beans
* Bianco de Spagna - white seeded. Failed. Severe stunting, mostly fatal; they never really recovered. The few plants that just barely hung on (I didn't have the heart to pull them out) didn't even flower until very late August / September. The pods harvested just before the killing freeze were usable as shellies, but there was nothing mature enough to save for seed. The curse continues, this seems to be the only runner I can't get seed from.
* Gigandes - white seeded. These were slow to start, but were less affected by the the stunting, and were the first beans in that plot to begin climbing. Unfortunately, the vines were stripped by hail in early July. The plants responded by sending out new runners, and made a remarkably rapid recovery... but they were set back by at least several weeks. Dry seed only began ripening about 10 days before the killing freeze. Was able to harvest a lot of shellies, and 11 ounces of dry seed... which will be used for a larger seed increase next year, hopefully under better conditions.

Over all, despite a few setbacks, it turned out to be a really good year for seed saving. Of 106 seed crops I planted for preservation, 94 were successful. 59 of those were legumes, including 80 pounds of various beans, and 40 pounds of soybeans. Much of my older stock has been replenished (such as BE#3 & Soissons Vert), and I found a few new varieties that proved to be keepers. I will continue with the results for peas & miscellaneous legumes later in this thread; my final observations for cowpeas & soybeans will follow on other threads.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:15AM
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Thank you for your report Annette. It is always helpful to hear from you in your similar climate. I was interested that you also grew Kew Blue. I rated it only fair in eating quality so will probably not grow it again. Part of the reason was that I grew it near Anellino Giallo the yellow shrimp bean which was outstanding. So Kew Blue did not impress me compared to those.

George I often wonder what it would be like to garden in an area where summers are hot and Limas grow. It seems that you had too much of a good thing. Something half way between your climate and mine would be great.

Zeedman I am glad that you got to try Clem & Sarah's this year. It is a good bean but it did not tolerate your heat or my cold mud very well. My best bush shelly/dry bean this summer was Stockbridge Indian.

Dolloff is one of those beans best suited to cooler summers. A GW member sent me a photo of stunted looking seeds grown by a bean pro in a hot area along side the larger and healthier looking seeds she got from me.

Perhaps Uzice Speckled Wax also favors a cooler summer. Here they are a very strong climber with a heavy tangled mass and lots of pods along the top rebar. Pods are about 9 inches long and no curl. The one difficulty I had with them was that the pods do not want to dry. They remain soft on the vine for weeks and even in my large drying loft with a fan on them, they were very slow to dry.

Your descripton of Soissons Vert reminded me of Tarbais which wanted to make a carpet rather than climb. - Dick

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:28AM
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