Things about beans

I’m going to post some information about beans in general and specifcs about some green snap beans. This is intended to provide information to help with seed selection when growing snap beans.

There are 4 different growth habits with beans.

1 - pole beans with runners that climb, Kentucky Wonder
2 - Bush type that stay about 3 feet tall or less, Tenderpod
3 - Half-runner where the plants climb 5 to 6 feet, Dixie Half Runner
4 - Western Sprawlers where the plants produce runners but are incapable of climbing, Zuni Red

There are several different pod types in beans.

1 - hard fibrous pods typical of most dry beans and many shellies, Pinto and Goose being examples
2 - Stringless even when the bean seed are in advanced development, Fortex is an example
3 - String beans that have tender pods but with significant strings on the edges, Kentucky Wonder is an example
4 - Stringless when young but develop strings as they age, usually as the seed develops, Grandma Roberts Purple
5 - Stringless and low fiber when young, but develops a lot of fiber in the pod as the seed develop, Helda Romano

And there are several different ways to use beans

1 - As snap green beans, Musica
2 - As dry beans, Pinto and Yellow Eye
3 - As shelly beans which are harvested mature but prior to drying, then shelled and cooked/canned/frozen, Goose
4. As leather britches where the bean pods are dried, Turkey Craw

First and foremost, I grow beans for flavor. Most of the modern beans I’ve grown are downright insipid. I have no problem pulling strings on beans so long as they taste good and don’t have a bunch of needle fibers when cooked. Over the last 100 years, breeders mucked up some really good beans in the process of adding disease and pest tolerance to the variety. This usually shows up as odd traits in the beans such as fibers in a snap bean.

I grew a 20 foot section of row of Helda Romano beans this year to try them out. Overall, they are an excellent bean growing raipdly and producing an abundance of wide flat beans. But they have one overriding bad trait. They MUST be picked when 1/2 inche wide or less. If let grow larger and to the point the bean seed develop in the pod, they produce heavy fiber in the pods. This is typical of beans developed over the last 50 years where crosses were made in an effort to produce stringless beans. The result is stringless beans, but the strings moved into the pod such that they have heavy chewy fiber if they get anywhere close to mature. These beans are “stringless when young” meaning they don’t have strings at the edges, but the strings develop inside the bean pod as they age. So what would I recommend re Helda? Grow them only if you can harvest when 1/2 inch wide or less so the fiber is minimized.

I listed Turkey Craw above as a bean for Leather Britches. However, it is a general purpose bean that can be used all 4 ways, as snaps, dry, as green shellies, and as leather britches. If you want to experiment with beans, grow Turkey Craw. They are not “superb” for any of the 4 uses, but they are the only bean I grow and enjoy that can be eaten 4 different ways.


Ever tried these… our local walmart carries them.
I really like the flat pod type itallian green beans. More pod (low carb) less bean (high carb).

They are simply delicious and quite cheap. We love them and eat them regular.

They have blue lake as well… but we fav the itallian style.

Since we found these and they are so good and cheap… i have had a hard time getting motivated to grow beans and pressure can them.
I can sure do that… have several times and they are good… but honestly they are not any better than the allen itallian green beans at walmart… which are super cheap.

I reserve my garden space for growing things… that you just cant match quality/taste wise at the store.

Okra for example… they do have okra at walmart occasionally but it never looks fresh… is usually beat up and bruised.

Home grown tomatoes…get space in my garden… well again because you just cant match the quality or flavor with store bought.

Green beans to me seem to fall into that catagory of things… that i can get at the store… cheap and in large qty… and they taste excellent.
They are already canned and have a long shelf life.

You may have different opinion and that is ok.

If you have not… you might try a can of those allen flat itallian green beans some time just to see how they compare to your home grown home canned beans.

In my case… my home grown home canned green beans were very good… (mountaineer half runners)… yes… but not really any better than what I an get case of at walmart super cheap.

That is the reason you will see me posting more pics of berries, fruit, okra, waretmelons, persimmons, figs, etc… and not a 5 gal bucket of beans.

I always had a hard time growing potatoes too… sure i can grow them… but man they are super cheap at the store… and I cant really grow my own and get something that is higher quality or taste significantly better.

Anyway… that is why i choose not to grow some things myself.


Beans, beans are good for the heart.
The more you eat, the better you feel.
So, eat some beans at every meal.

Trev, I grow just about every vegetable that I can just to be self-reliant. I’ve had the Allen beans. I’ve also had Double Luck beans that are pretty good. My home canned beans still beat the flavor by a mile. As for potatoes, well, you have to do some hunting to find the varieties. La Ratte, Sarpo Mira, and Azul Toro.are very good and very unusual. Red Pontiac and Kennebec are old standards that are still hard to beat for boiling and making french fries respectively.

Poncirusguy, I saw it with 4 verses.

Beans, Beans, good for the heart
The more you eat the more you fart
The more you fart the better you feel
So, eat some beans at every meal


me too.


My dad told me that when I was young and my mom hated it. Now I know why.

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Thanks for this post @Fusion_power . I am in favor of knowing what to grow even if I don’t have to grow it right now. If C-19 didn’t teach me anything, it taught me not to rely on the grocery store stocking everything that I’m used to all the time.

Beans beans the musical fruit,
The more I eat them, the more I toot.
The more I toot, the better I feel,
I can eat bean at every meal.

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@TNHunter - if I’m buying canned green beans, I’m gonna be looking for those flat Italian types, too. Allen’s are good. Margaret Holmes and Glory are da bomb!

@Fusion_power - do you have any experience with Black Nightfall bean? I ended up with about 2 ounces of dry beans from some plant in the garden, last year that looks like BN…a black bean seed with the same ‘frosting’ that Turkey Craw has. I don’t recall any black frosty seeds when I planted the Turkey Craw beans last spring, and had not grown any black-seeded beans in previous years, so don’t know where the black seedcoat color came from.

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Turkey Craw is notorious for in-garden bee made crosses. The plant would have been pollinated by a black seeded variety which results in black seed with frosting. Logan Giant and Rose are examples of black frosted beans. I’ve grown both but did not find anything exceptional to justify keeping the seed. To clarify, the cross was made in a previous year, you grew the resulting F1 seed and got the black frosted beans.

Native American pole beans are easy to grow


Pole. 65 days. This heirloom was brought from Tennessee by the Cherokee people as they were marched to Oklahoma by the federal government in 1839 over the infamous “Trail of Tears” that left so many dead and suffering. This prolific variety grows on vigorous vines. It is good as a snap or dry bean and has shiny black skin.

  • Pole Bean
  • 65 Days
  • Full Sun
  • Sprouts in 5-8 Days
  • Seed Depth: 1/2" to 1"
  • Ideal Temperature: 70-80 Degrees F
  • Plant Spacing: 6-10"
  • Frost Hardy: No
  • Phaseolus vulgaris

Growing Tips: Vigorous, long vines need support. Soak seeds overnight and direct seed after last frost. Harvest frequently to keep plants productive."


I have “greasy bean” and scarlet runner. I put the quotes because they are old saved seed beans, from when I originally planted two or three drying beans. they are ok as green beans, you have to string them. if you let them get big then do leather britches, the bean inside tastes really good and breaks out of the shell easily.

I grow scarlet runner for the flowers as well as the bean.

I planted adzuki beans this year, they are short and small. and some franchi “long green bean” but they are just now flowering so I’m not sure how they’ll be.

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I finished canning the beans today with a total of 14 quarts put up from the bucket of beans I harvested 2 days ago. The first canner full had 6 quarts of Helda Romano beans and 1 quart of Grandma Roberts Purple. Today I canned 7 quarts of Grandma Roberts Purple Pole beans which are from my Grandma who passed in 1999. These beans are typical of many Appalachian purple beans in being robust germinators even in cold soil. They also mature quickly and produce a heavy crop that matures in a relatively short interval, in other words, ideal for home canning. They are stringless when young and tender but develop moderate strings as the beans enlarge in the pods. If strings are properly pulled, these beans are tender, tasty, and relatively easy to can. On a scale of 1 to 10 for overall performance as a green snap bean, I rate these 8.5.

These beans definitely taste best when caramelized slightly by boiling off the water and letting them sizzle for a minute or two in the bottom of the pan. With a bit of chipped ham, these are darn good beans. I usually add salt and pepper and sometimes a dusting of hot pepper to my beans on the plate ready to eat.

Resonanteye, I’ve grown a lot of greasy beans over the years. The flavor is phenomenal, but production is extremely low.


mine are more productive now, I think something crossed with them that first year. they are a little more tender too. a landrace I guess

First @resonanteye introduces me to greasy beans in the “Crazy grafts” thread, and now @Fusion_power introduces me to leather britches beans. What’s next, someone landing on the moon?

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Much much worse, now I get to blow your mind. Landing on the moon is easy peasy. I also grow Nuña beans which are popped like popcorn. If you have never had Nuña beans as a snack, you are missing one of life’s simple pleasures.

I have two lines of Nuña beans in the garden. Both were sourced from Jim Myers at OSU nearly 20 years ago. I originally had a dozen lines but the others were not very well adapted to my climate. P10 and P4 Nuña lines are well enough adapted that I can grow them.


@Fusion_power, are you sure that those are Nuña beans, instead of Nunyah beans? :wink: The former would mean I might actually get to try them on a trip to Alabama, along with that citrumelo-like fruit from the tree in Birmingham you write about!

i know of some garbanzos that pop. Carol Deppe srote about them in her book “Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties”. I tgink we tried growing them some years back. The outcome wasn’t memorable for whatever reason.

For green beans, we favor french haricot vert and wax beans. Theyre so good fresh- much more tender than anything you can buy. Though bush types, they are productive and not space hogs. A couple of sowings each about 4 ft square keeps us well stocked through the growing season. We dont bother with parboiling and freezing or pressure canning beans, really, but dilly beans- i.e. pickled beans- are a staple and favorite of nearly anyone who tries them.

As far as the most versatile bean, Id have to throw my hat in for runner beans. Theyre good in all stages. Though theyre not much appreciated for their culinary attributes here in the US, they are the preferred green bean “across the pond”, where they are perennial. I imagine they start producing pretty quickly in locales where they can overwinter, especially since they form a starchy tuber. They make excellent dry beans, IME. Theyre large and creamy, with a nice flavor. I wonder why people in warm climates here don’t appreciate them more.

The best dry bean Ive eaten is ‘calypso’ aka ‘yin yang’. Its so thin skinned and creamy, you’d swear itd been cooked with a bunch of sour cream. Ive never seen them for sale, though grocery stores DO carry Maine grown dry beans in several varieties nearly as good - ‘jacob’s cattle’ is usually a go-to. Theyre only a couple of bucks a bag, which like @TNHunter was saying, makes it tough proposition. We DO grow loads of potatoes though. Once you get used to roasted fingerlings, its hard to go back. Yukon gold is without a doubt a great potato, and widely available. But then, potatoes are supposed to be one of the most pesticide laden vegetables there is. Growing ‘em is hard work, but pound for pound they give you more sustenance than almost anything.

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It is easy to make bold statements. Pictures tend to tell more of a story.


Maybe it is a colloquialism peculiar to this geographic region of Georgia, but some people like to use the word in this manner: “Nunyah business.” Those beans being prepared in that fashion sounds like something that I’ve got to try, especially if @Fusion_power is offering to put his expertise on display at some point. :wink:

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my greasies are reddish. like light brown