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Unusual varieties of beans — The Grow Network Community
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Unusual varieties of beans

VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Vegetables

This year I decided to grow some unusual varieties of heirloom beans in addition to the standard Provider bush bean.

The long beans, even longer than a standard kitchen knife, are Fortex. Seeds for it are difficult to find, but it's a productive pole bean and grows long, tasty green beans.

The purple and white bean is Dragon Tongue, and is sometimes known by other names. Its pods are flat rather than round, grows a bit larger than Provider, is quite productive, and has a tasty texture. Unfortunately the beautiful purple colors quickly fades when they are boiled in water for eating or blanching.

I tried Emerite, another unusual French bean variety, but the snails and slugs got them. This wasn't the fault of the beans, but the location where I planted them, which had too much grass and weeds where the pests could hide. These are also hard to find, but if I can buy more next year, I will try them again in a better spot.

I'm also growing Jacob's Cattle and Vermont Cranberry to eat as shellies or dry beans, but those aren't ready to harvest and photograph yet.

What unusual varieties of beans have you tried? What have you considered but not tried?


  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 2,946 admin
    edited August 2020

    I LOVE heirloom beans and peas! I'm still trying to find the speckled butterbean my grandparents grew. It was so common growing up that no one thought to save it. Raw, it looks like any other purple on white speckled butter bean. Cooked, it turns pale grey and is very creamy in texture and savory in taste. I grow Dixie Lee, zipper cream and purple hull field peas.

  • Lisa KLisa K Posts: 404 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This year I tried Rattlesnake Pole beans and they are doing great! This is just the first batch, there are more coming.

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 628 ✭✭✭✭

    I try to grow one new bean every year, though this year I stuck with two I'd already tried- Romano pole(not the same as the bush variety and harder to find) and Melungeon- both very tasty from past experience. Beans are doing terrible this year, so I'm glad I didn't try anything new; I might have a written off a perfectly good variety.

    I've grown the romano pole several times, and we always love it. I've also grown tuscarora bread bean, emilia's italian, red eye fall, lazy wife, red noodle bean, and maybe some others. The red eye fall came on early and after a heavy flush was done; that would be convenient for preserving, I expect, but we prefer the gradual harvest of most pole beans. I usually get my beans from The Sample Seed Shop- she has a really nice selection. Unfortunately the site its down right now, but you can still check her pages for reference. http://www.sampleseeds.com/?page_id=3725

    @judsoncarroll4 this doesn't look exactly like what you described, but I thought I'd point it out.


  • FergFerg Currently United States, Appalachia. Previously Great Lakes, GNYMA, Germany.Posts: 290 ✭✭✭

    I've grown dragon tongue as a matter of course - it's one of four bean varieties that I grow in rotation with the Box Plots. I love that they can get big and yet be tender when steamed. I love that you can dry them out and eat the dried beans (or replant). They are a cool looking bean and one of my favorites. It's exciting that you found them, @VermontCathy .

    The others that I grow are Blue Lake Bush, Pencilpod (or a similar yellow wax), purple bush, and fines vertes. The last one probably has a few names, variations on the name in French, local dialects, and native. They have to be picked daily, as they are quite prolific. They are intended to be picked when extremely thin (hence the fines) and are delicious steamed. If they are allowed to get fat, they also get strings.

    I don't grow string beans, and I'm not keen on string beans. I'm currently living in the south and, sorry, but I totally despise grezy beans. I'm fundamentally over-projected, so i don't add any extra work to my life, which string beans do. I prefer them steamed and crisp, or in potato salad, or pickled. Or quick saute'ed with almonds and butter.

    There's a red heirloom that I've grown as well, that also is forgiving when picking and eating - remains tender even once it is a little 'bulgy'. There. That's a technical term that we all needed to have in our vocabulary (-:

  • KimWilsonKimWilson Posts: 193 ✭✭✭

    Next year I am going to try rattlesnake.

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 216 ✭✭✭

    I am going to try a purple one again. I waited to long to plant them in the garden the first time and hungry bunnies did not help.

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