Bean Review-heirloom varieties I grew. : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Here's a bean review that I had written up for another forum.Thought some of you might like to read it(diane!) and add your own comments and recommendations.

I grew a number of heirloom beans in 2000 and thought you might be interested in their characteristics, as I found them,in KY. Remember, some I've only grown one year, and a wet, buggy one at that, so it's certainly not conclusive info, plus it is based only on one person's opinions & observations.

Here's the scoop. Most of these I do not have to trade, as I had another bad bean year. Last year was too droughty, now this year TOO MUCH rain. Had beans rotting & sprouting before they dried. Lesson learned from this was to check beans often in long rainy periods, pick before totally brown and finish drying inside, if needed. Also, don't just" not get around to trellising" half runners & pole beans. Thick mass of vines really inhibits drying in that kind of weather. Oh well!

Also had corn sprouting alot, on the stalk before it was dry. But I was able to catch it and salvage most.Boy, is that wet weather, or what?

Here are my favorites:

Royalty purple pod bush- use green,stringless,good flavor, takes colder soil,some disease resistance,built in blanch indicator,good production

Nickell bean-Morgan CO. KY native, grew & looked like a white half runner, very good "beany" taste. Looks like a good dry bean for soups also, but haven't tried it yet.

Black turtle bean-bush,productive & easy to shell out. I grew it for dried bean but use as green also reported.Love black beans & rice with kishinev peppers!

Henderson bush lima-have grown this for 20+ years but didn't know it was OP. delicious & productive.

Horto-tongue of fire- bush, early & multiple use -green,shell or dry. Not particularly tough plants but pretty productive while they last. I didn't like as a shell bean but you might. Did not try as green or dry yet. pretty seed.

Red peanut-bush,use shell or dry,easy to shell out,I liked the taste as a shelly bean,sort of like a black eye pea.Didn't try dry yet.

Some others I tried:

White greasy grits bean- grows like a half runner, use green,shell or dry. Popular in KY. People here love them or hate them. I don't like them as green, but I learned this year that to properly prepare them, must cook in grease. Hence the name! Haven't tried other ways yet.Productive, but bothered by rust in our humid weather so you must keep after them.

Mildred's Yard Long brown bean-Pole bean,different species of bean. You tell me how this bean got to be a pass-down of a local farm family? Same as in asiatic Yard long.use green, stir fried. productive once soil warms up.

Vermont cranberry bush-use shell or dry.Hard to shell. Not real productive for me. I'll try again next year.Pretty seed

Jacob's cattle bush-use shell or dry,easy to shell but not productive for me. Pretty seed.

Goodwins butter-grows like a half runner,yellow pods,use shell,shells easy,Just to see,I tried it as a wax bean - no good . Liked as shell, similar to red peanut. Didn't have enough seed to give it a good trial yet.

Tobacco worm bean-grows as half runner. Another local bean.Bumpy seed Supposed to use green but not enough to try yet

Christmas lima pole- large,colorful limas but I had crop failure due to wet, so I still haven't tasted them.

Thorogreen lima bush- I grew last year but didn't like them bc I found them hard to pick. Not as obvious when ready as henderson, so alot went to dry on me. Not good taste dry, to me.

-- sharon wt (, January 08, 2001


My Bean List- I wish I could say that I cooked with all the dried beans and could tell you just how they taste, but by the time I make up my bean soup packets for people for gifts, I never have enough to cook them just plain. I need to do something about that because I would really like to be able to tell the difference in the different tastes etc.

Top Crop – a old favorite green bean that I mostly eat fresh as snap bean and my primary canning bean.

Blue Lake – nice flavor fresh- never done much else with it (snap)

Kentucky Wonder – old favorite pole bean – we like to cook fresh pod and all, good as a shelly bean, I have never cooked it as a dry bean or froze them.

Scarlet Runner- pretty flower, never done well enough for me to do anything except save the seed for the next year.

Coco Robico – really pretty to grow with purply-pink streaked pod- same results for me as the scarlet runner

Vermont Cranberry Wren’s Egg Vermont appaloosa Brown Dutch Black Turtle Jacob’s Cattle Great Northern Red Mexican Soldier Adzuki Calypso – first time last year – really cool black and white seed Steuben Swedish Brown Black Valentine Pinto Red Kidney Amish Knuttle – first time last year – didn’t do a good job harvesting them and just got enough to replace my seed.

The above uncommented on seed are ones that I use in various combinations for my gift packages because they look so pretty together.

I have been looking in my Vermont Bean & Seed Catalog and see a few I am going to order this year. Oh, and I grew a soy bean and forgot to save seed-we cooked them all and loved them.

I have had a lot of years like your years Sharon, that's why most of my beans I have only a quart jar full after doing this for 10 years. I only plant out 1/2 of what I have, so hopefully don't have two failures in a row. Gardening is such a challenge!!!

-- diane (, January 08, 2001.

Oh sharon - please go back to the earth box thread and answer about the float beds Pleeeeeese. thanks

-- diane (, January 08, 2001.

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