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Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

Posted by ppod 6 SE NY (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 11, 09 at 21:00

If you've grown this bean, would you mind giving a quick description of it?

How many days from planting seed to snap stage? to dry seed stage?
Its disease tolerance?
Insect tolerance? For example, are weevils attracted to the pods?
Pod color (a picture would be wonderful)
Pod length, or number of seeds per pod
Pod shape: flat? round?
History of this bean: Who was Grandma Robert, and where did she live/garden? Is family still around?
Other facts?
Overall impression/satisfaction with this variety?

Thank you for taking time to post the information you have (and some pictures too, if possible).

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

This is a bean that I inherited from my Grandma Roberts who lived in Pelham Tennessee and died in 1999. She collected beans from people living in the area, some of whom had been growing them in their family for over 100 years. I do not know the exact history of Grandma Roberts Purple Pole. I do know that it is a very good purple podded rounded bean about 6 to 7 inches long with excellent production. It is a good fresh snap or canning variety. Grandma grew it out several times over the years to maintain seed and to have canning beans.

I still have some of her seed which were grown in 1995. About 5% of them still germinate today. This is an excellent bean that I will attempt to grow out in volume next year.


RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

  • Posted by ppod 6 SE NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 12, 09 at 12:45

Thank you, DarJones, for that information. I hope you get a good productive stand next year, 'cause now that the variety is "in the news," interest for growing it will likewise increase. Whenever seeds become available, I for one would like to grow it next year.

Thanks again for posting the information.

RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

I still have some seeds of Grandma Roberts' Brown Pole Bean you sent me, Darrel. How does it compare to Grandma Roberts' Purple Pole Bean?


RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean


They are dramatically different beans. The brown pole is pretty much a standard green pole bean albeit with a light sweet flavor that is hard to find in beans today. IIRC, the beans I sent you will produce 3 different colors of beans from the brown seed. There will be white, black, and brown beans in the offspring.

The Purple Pole Beans are similar in many ways to varieties that were common back in the 1930's but with a few traits such as round pods that are more often found in beans that date from the 1960's. Alabama #1 has many of the same traits and it dates from the 1930's.

Here are the traits:
1. round pods
2. about 7 to 8 inches long
3. some nematode tolerance
4. some heat tolerance
5. some resistance to bean rust
6. relatively short hold time on the vine, pick em young
7. relatively high 'beany' flavor
8. good canner, just the right firmness
9. Can be frozen, not as easily damaged as for example Fortex


RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

"9. Can be frozen, not as easily damaged as for example Fortex"


Fusion, I'm afraid that I'm a little puzzled by that statement. Haven't grown "Grandma Robert's" yet, so I don't know your frame of reference. But I've probably frozen 200-300 pints of "Fortex"... and it has excellent quality frozen, one of its better attributes. Stays firm, doesn't develop slippery skins, and keeps its flavor. I know its a little OT, but could you explain in greater detail?

RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

Fortex gets softer than I like when I freeze it zeedman. But I have to admit I haven't tried to freeze any beans in 10 years or more.


RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

I would be really appreciative of a good purple bean. I am nor really happy with the one we have (Purple peacock) as far as flavor and texture, we love the color and ease of picking, they are so easy to find. Great flowers and vine colors too.

RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean


i have grown your grandmas black, and brown beans a few years now. both have done well, in the somewhat frigid north of calumet, mi. i'm down in the bean belt in the thumb now, and would love to try the purple beans once they become available.

just say when


RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

Is this the same variety as the "Granny's Purple Pod" that I received from tormato last year? I saved lots of seed from them last year but have no info.

RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

Finally growing a full row of these, after a small seed crop in pots last I'm really looking forward to testing their attributes. The vines are loaded now, so I should have the first picking in a few days.

I noticed something interesting about the seedlings, though, that I first referred to in another thread. Last year, one of the seedlings had 3 primary leaves, as opposed to the normal 2. The seed from that plant made up about 1/4 of my dry seed harvest. When I planted my saved seed this year, about 1/4 of the seedlings in the row had 3 or 4 primary leaves... so this trait has apparently bred true.

Grandma Roberts seedlings photo 017_zps4478e715.jpg

Grandma Roberts seedlings photo 018_zps7bc4af2b.jpg

I am letting some of those plants go to seed. Has anyone else who has grown this bean seen this trait? Fusion, is this something you have observed, or do you think it is a new mutation? I have only rarely seen something similar in other beans, and those did not breed true.

RE: Grandma Robert's Purple Pole bean

Zeedman, it is common in these beans. I see it in about 10% of mine every year. I don't actively select for it though.

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