Stringless Greenbeans

river22(Z6 OK)July 12, 2008

Is there such a thing as stringless green beans? I've planted Kentucky Wonder Pole beans because I like pole beans and I plant them on a hog pen panel and let them climb up. It's easier to pick I think. But I just got my first picking and cooked some up and hubby complained about the strings. He complained last year too. When I snap them and clean them up, I try to get the strings off. Maybe I'm picking them at the wrong stage?

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river22(Z6 OK)

ok, i googled it and found there are stringless green beans but I think also I have been letting them get to big.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 10:19PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Well, you figured it all out and answered it for yourself.

Most of the hybrid beans sold nowadays are stringless, and so are many of the heirlooms, as long as you pick 'em while they are younger and smaller. And, if you let 'em get too big they all eventually develop strings and get pretty tough.

The flatter Romano-type beans (like Roma and Roma II) tend to get stringy even earlier than regular green beans do, at least in our garden, so I have to be really religious about checking them daily so they don't get too big and too tough.

I just cooked fresh green beans for dinner, and need to pick beans again tomorrow.....that batch will go into the freezer, which is getting pretty full.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 11:22PM
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I agree with everything Dawn said, of course, who wouldn't? ;)

The last couple of years, I planted Lazy Housewife, and I liked them a lot. I would recommend them highly. They need a trellis as they climb higher than 4'. I had mine climbing on a stock panel laying on it's side so there was about a 4 to 5 foot height to climb, and it wasn't high enough. The beans grow in groups of 3 or 4 so they're easy to pick. They are tender, stringless and full of flavor.

This year I tried a yard-long bean and Fortex. I have to say I'm not all that crazy about the Fortex because I don't find it yields that much. The bean is a decent length and is substantial even when young. The yard-long beans, though, have really done well. They're easy to see and pick, they grow in twos and I have picked several beans that were truly a yard long, though not all of them will get that long. They are tender and quite yummy. These two beans are climbers as well.

If some of your beans have gotten to the point where they are bulging where the bean is developing in the pod, it's too late to pick them. Go ahead and let it grow, though, and when the pod turns brown you can pick it and you'll have beans for planting next time.

Many people do pick beans when they're actually what I consider to be "too far gone". They string the bean. When you snap off the end, you will notice a string will be attached, just go ahead and pull this string off the bean. Normally there will be a string on both seams of the bean, but they're easy to remove if you snap the bean in both directions and pull off any strings that you see as a result of the snap. These are called "Shelly Beans", and while not as tasty as when young and tender, are still edible. When they are being snapped, and also while they cook, some of the beans will emerge from the pod and it makes a kind of pretty mix of green and whatever color the bean inside is. They are not to my taste, but some people really love them. I think it has to do with what you ate while you were growing up.

Of course home-grown green beans just are not authentic unless you cook a piece of bacon with them. (IMHO)

I'm just starting to get interested in shelled bean growing and I've learned a little by going to the bean and legume forum at this site. There are nice folks over there. I bought some "gourmet" beans from Purcell Mountain Farms and I planted a few of them also. The only thing is that these beans are sold for eating and not for planting, so the smallest amount you can buy is a pound, but if there are several people wanting to plant the seed, the price is reasonable that way. The beans run about $3 to $5 per pound, depending on what they are. Some of the beans are actually meant to be eaten while green. Others are meant to be harvested when dry and shelled. The pictures are kind of misleading because you can't see what size the beans are. Some of them are actually quite small and my guess are that these are the beans that are meant to be eaten while green.

I learned that there are several organizations that are trying to preserve the heirloom beans and it's kind of fascinating. I've learned terms like "cutshort" and "greasy", that I had heard before but never knew what they meant. --Ilene

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 10:24AM
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river22(Z6 OK)

I think next year I am going to try yard long on one panel and lazy housewife on the other. i have a hard time seeing these beans and it takes a while to pick them. And like you said Ilene the kentucky wonder grows way over 4 foot and when they get to the top they double back down and I find myself in quite a mess holding up the vine with one hand and trying to pick with the other. But I can't complain, I am already filling the freezer too!! I can't believe I am still getting squash.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 5:05PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Ilene--you can disagree with me any time you want! Heaven knows, I am not always right! : ) I may grow the asparagus beans next year just to change up my routine. I haven't grown them since we moved here, although I grew them in Texas.

River--in spite of the late cold weather, and our current dryness, our plants continue to produce much better than most other years too, and I can't explain why. As late as everything got started, I would have expected poorer production. Just think how much you'll be enjoy having all the squash and stuff in the middle of winter! It will feel "just like summertime"....well, except for all the cold weather outside. Maybe I should say it will "taste like summertime", which, in the winter, will be vey nice!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 5:33PM
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Here's a different spin on things; something to consider. Most stringless beans tend to have tough pods when they start to get old. Some of the real old "string" beans actually stay tender FAR longer than the stringless ones.

In most cases, if I'm going to have a string bean I want it to have a heavy, durable string, so that, when I pull it out, I get the whole thing. Our family heirloom (Tennessee Cutshort) has heavy strings. We can pick them very young (and still decent sized) and they are stringless. But we prefer to let them fill out a bit, even to the point that we have some shelly beans in there. Once strung, however, the pods are as tender as can be, and we seldom find a string in our plate. My wife and I prefer this bean even over a completely stringless bean which we also raise, simply because we get so much "bean" per pod that it takes less work to fix a mess, than does the slender stringless variety. Many of the real old time beans were real string beans.

We also grow a yard long bean called Georgia Long. It has light strings when it attains full size. They dont string very well. But, I have found that if I cut the pods with a knife, instead of just snapping them, the strings are unnoticeable.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 5:58PM
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George, I'd like to try your Tennessee Cutshort. I've never grown a bean that didn't get tough and fibrous when the bean inside began to develop. Is it pole or bush? Will you be having seed to trade this year?

I just really love this forum, where people can exchange ideas and viewpoints and nobody attacks them. I like to go to the harvest forum but they really get into some heated arguments over there. I kind of hate to express an opinion there. --Ilene

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 8:29PM
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Sure Ilene. I'll e-mail you through the Gardenweb. If you don't get it about the time you read this, then let me know.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 8:34AM
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Here's a picture of Tennessee Cutshort. Last year I trialed two other beans which were very similar. All three are Appalachian heirlooms. I suspect that at least two out of three are from the same original source, as they were indistinguishable. The other two are called Ruth Bible and Childers Cutshort. You can read about them by doing a search on Gardenweb.

We also have a yellow pole bean, a family heirloom from my wife's grandparents. It has a light string, which is not as good as a heavy. But still, it is a very nice bean; tender till it dries down. The disadvantage to this bean is that it hardly sets beans until nights turn cool, in the fall. But then it REALLY sets beans! It is also a little shy on seed production. I'll post a picture of that one two. It's called Barksdale Wax Pole bean.

Bill Best (see link below) has some great material on tender podded, old fashioned string beans. He also sells seed. I can vouch for Greasy Beans. They are good! But I don't have any good pictures. I have two kinds.

We mainly depend on Tennessee Cutshort Pole Bean, Barksdale and Georgia Long Cowpea (Yardlong) for our beans.

Tennessee Cutshort

Barksdale Wax Pole Bean

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 9:03AM
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George, I've replied. They will be interesting to grow. In the picture, they look like they are 'way too far gone to eat. Thanks for putting in your "two cents", as this is how we learn! :)

I got four beans called Dragon Tongue Yellow Wax from someone who sent them as a bonus in a trade. I planted all four and only one came up. It blooms a nice little lavendar flower but so far has not set on any beans. Maybe it has to have cooler nights like your Barksdale bean does. We've had two cool nights now (in late July! How wierd. I just never know what to expect next.) so I'm going to watch and see if any beans will start to form. Of course I will not be eating any of these beans this year, if they make anything, because I want the seed. --Ilene

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 10:36AM
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Dragon Tongue is a nice yellow podded bush bean. The pods have reddish striping. I found them to be somewhat similar to Barksdale, in quality. However, the year I grew them, anyway, they seemed extremely susceptible to weevils (they'd get into the pods and eat the immature seeds). Still, that bean normally receives very good reviews.

The Tennessee Cutshorts in the above picture are at our favorite stage for eating.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 2:20PM
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