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How's everybody's growing season going so far?

Just about there, half of my beans are in the rest are started, the say we are going to have a warmer than usual summer so I've added one more to my list 'Black Seeded Yard Long' I have a fairly warm sheltered spot they just might do, at least it's worth a try. I'm also trying a few 'Yancheng Bush' out in the garden, I usually grow yard longs in the greenhouse.

I just planted out the 'India Bush' hyacinth beans I started in the green house, they came up looking really good. I just about lost my sample of 'German Red Lima' they were growing in a tub in the greenhouse last night either a slug or snail had a real go at them, they are now covered in copper mesh, hopefully they will recover.

I'm growing 3 samples of 'Tennessee Cutshort' a few from my first grow out where the seeds actually looked like cutshorts, cramped in their pods, a sample of the TC's George recently sent me and a sample of the ones I grew last year where the seed seemed to be a little larger than usual and didn't show any signs of the cutshort trait. George(macmex) says they they really aren't cutshorts so that maybe explains why mine looked the way they did last year.

Sometimes I think I need my head examined growing so many different varieties of beans but it is sooooo addictive LOL. Now that I have a freezer to store my seed in I want to renew all my seed so as to have fresh seed for long term storage or until I can pass them along to others who will keep some of these heirlooms going. Nobody seems to have found seed for the 'Baby Fordhook Lima' so it looks like that one has been lost, shame as I've heard it was a very nice one.

I just received another strain of the little 'Comtesse de Chambord' bean in the mail yesterday, this one is fatter and slightly bigger than the one I brought in from France, it looks more like the one shown on the 'Daughter of the Soil' and 'High Country Gardener' blogs. Both these are different from the one Russ Crow has, which was one of the parents of his great tasting bush bean 'Blue Jay'.

I'm growing two separate color patterns of the 'Tennessee Greasy Mix' I haven't grown before just to see what color seeds they produce, this one not only tastes good but I'm always surprised at the variation in the seed coats when shelling the dried seed.

Babbled on long enough, soooo how's everybody growing season going so far, growing anything new and interesting in the bean department?


Comments (17)

  • beesneeds
    8 years ago

    So far, not so much, lol.

    My Eye of the Tigers I started as plants went into the ground a couple weeks ago and got coddled under a frost blanket- they are now out in the open and starting to grow nicely.

    My Succotash that I started as plants are in the ground now too, as of a week or so ago. They are taking rather nicely to their bed as well.

    The Mayflowers didn't fare so well, only got 3 plants out of the 16 seed I started. That's ok, I built them a lil bamboo teepee in one of the squash beds, and now those are in the ground and looking good. Even if I can't eat them this year, I can still hopefully get a good seed crop off of them.

    The White Marrowfats completely failed, not one single sprout- but then I only had a few seed to start with. I'm really bummed about that, it was the dry bean I was most looking forward to this year.

    Just direct seeded Golden Wax, Masai, and Lynx beans into the bean beds. Had a lot of seed for those. I'm pre-starting about 5 other kinds of fresh eating beans of yellow and green kinds of a few seeds each- testing out some new kinds to see if I like any of them particularly well for my pickling of dilly beans and spicy beans.

    For once, I actually have pea plants that are growing like crazy! I have the worst terminal luck with those, but with a lot of advice from here on GW, I actually have a nice healthy lot of plants- now if only they would start producing pods, lol.

  • happydog
    8 years ago

    I'm setting up the poles today and will start planting this week. I grow four rows, each row is 100' long. The rows are 10' apart and between the rows I lay landscape fabric. I cut holes in the landscape fabric and grow winter squash and melons. This works really well for my climate. The black landscape fabric eliminates weeding and warms the soil for the squash and melons. I'm in the mountains and we have cool nights.

    I have 56 varieties of pole beans to grow out this year. Not counting the cranberry types I'm growing to see if I can identify the awesome mystery bean I've been growing the last 2 years. And not counting the limas. I had a hard time culling my *must grow* list down to only 56 varieties. I'm mourning over all the beans left behind, but I just can't fit them all in. They say there's a fine line between hobby and mental illness. I like to use that line to grow runner beans.

    2015 Grow List -

    1. Aunt
    2. Aunt
    3. Good
      Mother Stallard
    4. Fortex
    5. Red
      Eye Fall
    6. Potato
    7. Brita’s
      Foot Long
    8. Bird
      Egg #3
    9. Striped
    10. Tarbais
    11. Soissons
    12. Mongetes
      del Ganxet
    13. Stortino
      di Trento Annellini
    14. Helda
    15. Blue
    16. La
    17. Musica
    18. Flamingo
    19. Jembo
    20. Super
    21. Kentucky
    22. Flagg/Chester
    23. Gold
      of Bacau
    24. Neckar
    25. True
      Red Cranberry
    26. Blue
    27. Red
    28. Mayflower
    29. Gold
      Marie Vining
    30. Bosnian
    31. Purple
      Podded Pole
    32. McCaslan
    33. Blue
    34. Kwintus
    35. Marvel
      of Venice
    36. Chinese
      Red Noodle
    37. Thai
      #3 Long Bean
    38. Liana
    39. Herrenbohnli
    40. Sultan’s
      Golden Crescent
    41. Aunt
      Mary’s Meat
    42. Kahnawake Mohawk
    43. Marengo
    44. Edwards
    45. Pink
      Tip Greasy
    46. North
      Carolina Long Greasy
    47. Headrick
      Greasy Cut Short
    48. Grady
      Bailly Greasy Cut Short
    49. Greasy
    50. Frank
      Barnett Cut Short
    51. Doyce
      Chambers Greasy Cut Short
    52. Blue
      Greasy Grit
    53. Red
    54. Penny
    55. Giallet
      Della Val Belluna*
    56. Piggott

    *not technically pole beans but I'm trying them on poles to see if they have better production.

    Cranberry comparisons –

    1. Mystery bean I'm hoping to identify
    2. Speckled Cranberry
    3. Uncle Walt’s Vermont Cranberry
    4. Roger Newsome
    5. Lamon Borlotto

    Pole Limas -

    1. Violet’s
      Multicolored Butterbeans
    2. Black
      Jungle Lima
    3. Golden
    4. Hopi
    5. Old
      Time Pink & White
    6. Christmas
    7. Old
      Time Fence

    Apparently Houzz thinks this list is long enough. It won't let me list the bush beans so I'll continue those below.

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  • happydog
    8 years ago

    I've tried really hard to eliminate bush beans, in favor of poles, but I can't leave out these so I'm stuck with planting a lot more bush beans than I'd planned.

    Giant Red Tarka

    Big Boy Cowpeas

    Pinkeye Purplehull

    Mississippi Silver

    White Whippoorwill

    Penny Rile

    Ozark Razorback cowpea

    Zipper Cream

    Fort Portal Jade

    Tanya's Pink Pod

    Fast Lady

    Wood's Mountain Crazy Beans

    Some of those cowpeas are new to me so I'm just trialing them in hopes of finding out which ones I like the best. So next year I can just grow the winners. I'm debating whether to plant Blue Jay or wait till next year. I didn't read anything about the flavor or eating qualities, just that the color is beautiful. Same for Mrocumiere. Same for Pink Turtle.

    I may add Kunde to my grow list because the leaves are edible and that's intriguing. On the other hand, doesn't all cowpea foliage make good fodder for livestock? Maybe all bean leaves are edible and we just don't know it. Or maybe they're edible but they don't taste good. I don't know yet if I'm curious enough to add Kunde to the list this year. Seems like I have enough beans already.

  • aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Happydog WOW, that's quite a list but 100 ft. rows means you have a wee bit of land :). My 40 plus varieties are being squeezed in the 'Bean Boutique' in the back yard of a city lot. Just growing samples of many for a taste and renew my seed stash, as it is growing so close together I'll be doing a lot of bagging of flowers to prevent crossing.
    I see we are growing some of the same varieties just not in the same numbers LOL. Have you grown Fort Portal Jade and Giallet Della Val Bell before? What do you think of them? I just grew a sample of them a couple of years back for seed and then passed it onto someone else as I don't have the room to grow many bush beans. Blue Jay and Woods Mountain Crazy are a couple of favorites which I do grow alternate years. Some years I grow Comtesse de Chambord in baskets for a nice sweet tender treat.
    I don't know how it happened but this has become all very addictive for me, it's all this forums fault LOL.


  • happydog
    8 years ago

    I bought the Fort Portal Jade and Giallet Della Val Bell from Richter's Seedzoo a few years back. There were only a small number of seeds in each pack. I grew them out that year but it was an unusually dry year so they didn't fare very well. Of course I didn't dare eat any of them because I had to save all the seed, lol. So, unfortunately I don't have any info about them to share. They survived and gave me a slight bit of seed increase, and that's all I remember about them.

    This year I'm going to keep a notebook down in the garden so I can keep track of each variety. If I was REALLY efficient I'd buy a scale to keep in the garden. Maybe this will be the year I finally do that.

  • happydog
    8 years ago

    And yes, heaven help me, every time I log into this forum I discover another half dozen beans I simply must own. It's definitely an addiction.

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I was planning on planting bush beans today. It rained this morning so hopefully the ground is dried out enough when I get home. Still need to put a trellis for the pole beans and since it's the first year I'm growing poles I'm quite excited.

    Edit: Against my better judgement (the ground was a bit wet and cloddy) I went ahead and planted the bush beans.


  • beesneeds
    8 years ago

    Jeepers Happydog, you are planting a lot of beans! And here I was crying over only being able to have the few kinds that I do. Do you save seed from your beans too, or just eat them up?

  • happydog
    8 years ago

    I save seed to a fault. I'm the kind of person who would starve to death with 10 gallons of bean seed in my freezer. I've been saving seed for years. Plus I got a lot of seed from the swap that Gary hosted. I've also been known to beg seeds for a unique bean from farmers at the farmer's market.

  • aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    'I've also been known to beg seeds for a unique bean from farmers at the farmer's market', this kinds of reminds me of someone LOL.

  • nightbloomincereus 7A noVA
    8 years ago

    Halfway through May a lot of my beans are up:



    Black Valentine

    Wood's Mountain Crazy Bean - Just sprouting now

    Pencil Pod

    Bush Blue Lake - I replanted over half the bed today

    Royal Burgundy

    Comtesse De Chamborde - from Russ Crow

    Buckskin Girl - from Russ Crow

    Piet Special - Growing 3 seeds as part of a seed grow-out group on another board.


    Headrick Greasy Cutshort

    Purple Trionfo Violetto

    Kentucky Wonder - brown seed

    Solwezi - Growing out 3 seeds as per above.

    Still to plant:

    Striped Hull Cutshort


    Rattlesnake (about 5 or 6 seeds left in this package)

    Adzuki : Takara Early

    Runner - Insuks Wang Kong


    King of the Garden

    Red seed mix (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange) - I have had poor germination so far, but didn't plant any one large plot. I am using them to space portions of the main garden because I am seriously oversubscribed on beans. :)

    Still to Plant: Violet's Multicolor Mix

    Lablab: from a seller in China who thought it was a catjang. I grew it anyway. :)


    Jim Su/Chinese Long Green - My old reliable family heirloom since 1974.

    Sierra Madre - I promise to save enough seed this time Chris.

    Galante - Ditto

    Uncle Chan - Bought on eBay from Thailand with no name. Mottled pods, black and white seeds- Just planted yesterday.


    I have lots of seed for Red Noodle, but may hold it for 2016. NO ROOM. :)

    Cowpea/Southern Pea/whatever you want to call them:

    Red Riper

    Ozark Razorback

    Inkosi Umhlaba - This one hails from Africa and is a trade from a participant of a seed exchange in 2014. Reputed to be a rampant grower with prolific pods.

    I have about half a dozen more, but no room for more than 2.

    Depending on the weather I may get a few more beds prepared and planted today, if it I will have to wait for better weather.

  • fusion_power
    8 years ago

    The row of Fortex X Oaxacan 5-1 has runners about 5 feet tall and is starting to bloom. I can tell from the plants that there are at least a half dozen hybrid plants among the pure Fortex. I made this cross by interplanting Fortex and Oaxacan 5-1 on a 30 ft trellis last year then let the bees do their thing. I saved only the Fortex seed. Oaxacan 5-1 has pink/purple flowers and Fortex has white flowers. Any hybrid plants will show up with pale pink flowers. Since the row is about 100 feet long, I should have plenty of beans to eat and plenty more of the F2 hybrid seed to save for next year.

    I also have a row of Grandma Roberts Tri-color beans that is similarly tall. I planted a half row of Dr. Martin lima and the other half Carolina White Sieva. Germination was very poor with only a dozen plants. I re-planted a few days ago and now have a decent stand of both.

    I'm debating putting in a row or two of dry beans to for fall harvest.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    8 years ago

    Wow some of you are as addicted to bean growing as I am to Garlic! My Fortex and Rattlesnake pole beans should be starting to climb within a week or so. Most of my first row of Provider got drowned. More Provider and Contender will follow in my 2 Broccoli beds when I finish harvesting the main heads in about a week or 2.

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    8 years ago

    "...Solwezi - Growing out 3 seeds as per above."

    Just noticed that variety in the list above... I am also growing Solwezi this year. I received my sample unsolicited, sent along with another trade in 2014. If you could contact me offline, I'd be interested in hearing more about this bean project.

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    7 years ago

    Just a quick update on Solwezi. Of the 15 plants, two showed signs of disease early, and were destroyed. The remaining plants were healthy, and were most definitely not bush (as had been reported by my source). The most vigorous plants overran their 6 1/2 foot trellis.

    There is wide variation between plants, in habit (strong vs. weak climbers), flower (purple and white), and pod (purple, green, and purple striped). Now that seed harvest has begun, there is also wide variation in DTM between the three pod types, with the purple-podded maturing first. This was the most vigorous, and while one of those has pinkish seed, the seed from the other two plants closely resembles what I was sent. The striped pod is at shelly stage now, and should begin drying shortly. The weak climbing / white flowered / green-podded plants are still in snap stage, so it remains to be seen if they will mature before frost.

    I am segregating seed from each phenotype, and will probably grow the purple-podded / purple seeded variant again. I don't know whether the diversity I've observed is inherent to the cultivar (a land race), or whether it is the result of crosses introduced by seed savers. While all the seed sent to me was identical, it may have been sorted after harvest. There is some precedent for this; a gray-seeded runner bean that was sent to me several years ago was actually a sort from a multi-colored land race (originally from NS/SEARCH), and reverted back to that in my harvested seed. I believe others are growing out this cultivar, it would be interesting to hear their results for comparison.

  • aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    What can I say, this has been the weirdest growing season ever, Brita's Foot Long has really produced lots of beans, lots of seed and is finished pole pulled. Barksdale planted the same day is just flowering now and starting to produce pods, mind you the vines have gone wild, gone up the pole, down the pole, up again and reaching out for anything it could grab hold of like my clothesline. Several other varieties are behaving the same way like they're on steroids.

    Grandma Nellie's and Frank Barnett are also finished, got a bumper crop of seed from 8 plants planted of both of these. Had a bit of a boo boo with Rattlesnake and Louisiana Snap, the seed looks identical and before I realized what I'd done I threw the first dried seed from L.S. in with the Rattlesnake seed I'd already collected, dumb, dumb, dumb. Oh well lots more pods to pick of Rattlesnake so threw that lot of seed in a jar in the kitchen to be used in some recipe or other.

    Had a couple of failures but the sample of seed given me could have been old Chevrier Vert didn't germinate and Flaro French Flageolet I ended up with one plant. Surprisingly enough I have a tub of Fagiolina del Traimento producing beans, Yancheng Bush looks healthy enough but hasn't begin to flower yet.

    The runner I'm growing this year Aeron Purple Star has produced fantastically for me, we've had a few meals and now the rest have been left for seed. I have a few pods that didn't turn Purple and as the vines are so intertwined I couldn't find which plant to pull :). Next year I'll only plant half as many plants with a vulgaris variety in between so I can rouge out anything that only produces green pods, mind you that will probably be too late due to the bees. I'll only plant seed from purple pods and keep my fingers crossed.

    The first Big Mama I planted turned out to be a purple bush bean not a pole variety, have no idea what they are so will scrap them. I managed to find another source for this Big Mama, although planted late it's almost at the top of it's pole and is flowering so there's hope for this one even if I have to put an umbrella over it in the fall. It seems this is another heirloom that is endangered so will grow it again next year.

    Bosnian Pole is producing lots of beans, not quite at the full bean stage, my trial of the 3 different Tennessee Cutshorts is just about ready for picking and comparing and the samples of quite a few of the other beans I'm growing, seed already picked.

    I'll come back later with final results, lots of beans at different stages of development yet to report on. This has been one H*ll of a summer I have to admit the heat has been knocking the stuffing out of me, yeah I know the 90's are just warm to some of you but when you are used to most of the summer being in the low 70's it makes a difference. On the the other hand when we were in Arizona one December temps were in the mid 70's during the day and we were all hitting the pool at the motel we were staying at :) the residents all thought we were crazy. They were all sitting around bundled up and some even wore socks to bed at night to keep their feet warm, or so we were told. it's all what you're used too.


  • annie1992
    7 years ago

    Well, my bean planting is sure nothing like happydog's, but I did plant beans.

    I was greatly disappointed in the Blue Lake Bush bean, I got 30 quarts out of two 50 foot rows, and I like Royal Burgundy better, so I'm going back to the "magic" beans next year, the grandkids love to watch them turn from purple to green in boiling water, like "magic", LOL.

    Pencil Pod wax beans went crazy, I couldn't stop them. I got more beans from a single row of those than I did from both rows of Blue Lakes.

    We just shelled and froze 33 pounds of what my husband from Tennessee calls an "October" bean, although I know them as Italian Horticultural. They're beautiful and delicious, no matter what they are called.

    I also canned 35 quarts and a couple of pints of Pink Half Runner beans, still in the pods, not shelled, another southern tradition from my husband, he and his family love them. I save seeds each year because I just can't find them, even on line. After canning they have a nice "gravy" that I think results from the starch in the bean.

    I finally got my hands on a few Mayacoba seeds, grew them out, and this year I have enough to eat and freeze. They are growing like mad, I think they'll be ready to pick and shell sometime this week.

    I grew Turkey Craw, Cherokee Trail of Tears and Greasy Cutshort last year, but gave up on pole beans, although I liked the Turkey Craw a lot. The trellising and too many varieties of beans takes up the space that I want for the other things I also love, like beets and eggplant and leeks and tomatoes and cabbage and butternut squash and, well, you get the point, I guess.