Best pole beans

summertime2006December 18, 2006

I grew all bush beans last season and I got pretty sick of bending over to pick them so I vowed to plant pole beand next season.

I just wanted sugesstions on the best tasting pole beans to grow.



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gardenlad(6b KY)

I would urge you to look at the previous threads, including the backpages, as this is a topic we've discussed several times.

That said, Tobacco Worm is the variety against which I judge all other pole beans. Others high on my list would include Barnes Mtn. Cornfield; NT Half-runner; Red Striped Greasy; Ruth Bible; and Striped Bunch.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 7:28AM
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jimster(z7a MA)


You'll wonder why you never grew them before. At least that was my reaction the first time I grew them. I now try to grow as many pole beans as possible and as few bush beans.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 12:47PM
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floridian(Zone 10)

I grow Neckargold (a yellow wax pole bean) and either Blauhilde or Trionfo Violetto together - they look pretty together and the yellow and purple (turn green when you cook them) pods are easy to spot. Beans in general do very well down here in the subtropics, but I grew Neckargold and Blauhilde also when I still lived in Germany, so I assume they would do ok in your climate as well.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 8:57PM
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geraldo(Cent. WA z6b)

Gardenlad; Where can these beans be purchased?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 9:04PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Tobacco Worm and NT Half-Runner are available from Bill Best
at the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center, He may have Barnes Mtn. Cornfield available as well.

The others are available from me. Contact me at for details.

You can also gain access to all these and many other family heirloom type beans by joining the Appalachian Heirloom Seed Conservancy. Contact is Include your snail-mail addy if you want a membership brochure.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 10:19PM
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geraldo(Cent. WA z6b)

Thank you, will do.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 9:31AM
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I grow Purple Podded pole. Stringless, and quite tender even when it gets fairly large. Not that we had that problem! My DS (4 last summer) had trouble letting them get larger than stem-thin and three inches long. Those were HIS bean plants and he was very (overly) serious about harvesting them.

This year I plan to add a wax pole to our garden for some variety.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 5:44PM
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I grow "Emerite" and "Trionfo Violetto" for snaps

For fresh shelling (our favorite), I grow borlottos, wren's eggs, cranberry, and this year I'm trying "Bianco di Spagna
" pole cannellini from Gourmet Seeds Int'l

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 12:35PM
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rxkeith(z5 MI)

if you want to try something different, sandhill preservation is offering for the first time, uncle steve italian pole beans. they are a flat pod green bean with purple whorls on it. the seeds came from my great uncle steve who immigrated here from sicily in the early 1900s. i think they are pretty good tasting. you will too.

keith in calumet

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 11:55PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

>"For fresh shelling (our favorite), I grow borlottos, wren's eggs, cranberry, and this year I'm trying "Bianco di Spagna" pole cannellini"Ahhh... a kindred spirit. Since I tried my first home-grown "King of the Garden" limas fresh, I have been hooked on green-shelled legumes. Edamame & shellies were just a natural progression from there, and the search for heirloom shell beans is my longest ongoing garden project.

Nearly all of my beans are pole varieties, including all that follow... Jimster is right, they really grow on you. ;-)

I grow & freeze a lot of snaps; but I freeze even more shellies. The majority are heirlooms that are not commercially available, perhaps because so few people (in this country) still know about eating beans in this fashion. Of these, "Soissons Vert" (a pole flageolet still available in Europe), "Ma Williams" (a.k.a. "Goose" or "Pumpkin Bean"), "Jembo Polish", and "Brita's Foot Long" are some of the best.

I also grow several "horticultural" beans, which are large speckled beans similar to the cranberries & borlottos. Some of them taste more like potatoes to me than beans... but they are pleasant with butter, salt, and herbs. Most of my shelly beans are better described in the "Shelly Bean" thread... go figure. (lol)

"Wren's Egg" is the only commercial pole shelly that I tried (aside from a bush variety many years ago), and I enjoyed it. The vines are not as vigorous as some, so this might be a good cornfield bean. I have not tried the borlottos yet, but if my suspicions are correct, they may be similar - if not identical - to many of the "horticulturals".

For snaps, "Fortex", "Emerite", "Kentucky Wonder", "Garafal Oro" and (Ferry Morse) "Pole 191" are my favorites. I grew "Trionfo Violetto" last year, and while it had the most attractive pods, it was out-yielded by an heirloom purple variety, "Czechoslovakian". For pole wax beans... well, there is a current thread dedicated just to them, so I won't repeat them here.

Incidentally, besides checking out the related "Shelly Bean" and "Pole Wax Bean" threads in this forum, you might want to check out the "Sieva Lima" thread in the Vegetable Forum, since it discusses many pole limas.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 12:13AM
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Zeedman, we are indeed kindred spirits, as I am mad for shellies. I have dozens of ways to cook them. There's nothing like cassoulet with fresh flageolets, or fresh cannellini sauteed with garlic and fried sage leaves!

May I purchase some of the "Soissons Vert" pole flageolet seed from you? Also, if the "Bianco di Spagna" I'm growing turn out to be true pole cannellini, I'll send you some next year.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 11:10PM
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jimster(z7a MA)


There is a thread on this forum called "How Do You Cook Your Beans?". Would you please post a few of your best methods for cooking shellies on that thread? I have little experience with shellies and want to learn.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 11:24PM
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Happy to do so, Jim. I put one there yesterday for green beans, potatoes and pesto pasta.

They tend to be somewhat informal in measurements. I'm a relatively adept cook, especially in Italian & Latin American foods, so I go by instinct and experience. I'll try to get more disciplined. It'll be snowing like crazy tonite, so I'll add some shell bean recipes there.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 2:00PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

The style of your recipe is perfect for me. That's the way I cook. If I know the ingredients and what to aim for in the finished dish, I can make it.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 2:52PM
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Jimster, I just put one of our favorite shell bean recipes up there. Yumalicious.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 8:12PM
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