Beans There and Done That Growing Beans

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Gardening

Green Beans


Growing Heirloom Beans

Fresh green beans for supper are just one of those constants that keep our space time continuum in good repair. It is perhaps my first farm to table memory, picking green beans, snapping green beans, and then seeing the Kentucky Wonders on Mom’s blue willow plates.

Breaking beans is an activity geared toward multi-generational involvement. I smile recalling time spent with family as the lowly legumes were prepared for canning and freezing.

A common mistake many gardeners make is planting too many beans at the same time. Trust me it can happen.

Mom, quit laughing. I know what you are thinking. Before the summer is over, I will be on the phone begging you to come help me with beans.

Bean There and Done That

This year, I am going to try to stagger bean plantings and maturity dates so I am not placing 911 calls to Mom. (Do you hear her STILL laughing in the background?)

We’ve had a tough time with beans the last couple of years. Beans are really easy to grow…but they don’t hold up to flooding. Hopefully, the floods are a fluke and this year our garden will prosper.

We expect to grow
Phaseolus vulgaris “Common beans”

  • White Cutshort – Cutshorts named for their “cutshort” pod is a tasty alternative to White Half Runners, the bean of choice in our neighborhood.
  • Greasy Grits Pole Bean – Greasy beans are slick, lacking those little hairs most green beans exhibit.
  • Dragon Tongue – I usually grow Cherokee Wax a Yellow Bean. Dragon Tongue is similar, except it has purple stripes that are pretty on the vine.

Phaseolus lunatus “Lima Beans”

  • Christmas Lima Bean – A two tone red and white bean, often seen in high end gourmet food stores.
  • Alabama Black Butterbean – this is a new one to us and we are growing out for seed stock.

And Novelty Beans

  • Tepary Beans – A desert native, I grow these just to defy logic. These are a fine dried bean extremely high in protein.
  • Scarlet Runner Beans – Thought of more as an ornamental than edible, I just like seeing them grow.
  • Chinese Red Noodle Beans – These crazy things yield and yield. Grown on a tepee, these are a real conversation starter with “yard long” purple pods. We love these in stir fry. These are akin to southern cowpeas so be aware they will cross-pollinate.
  • White Rice Beans – I read an article about Chef Sean Brock that talked about a rice bean. I am guess this is what he was talking about. We’ll see.

Farmers Market Favorites

Fall Beans
Abingdon Farmers Market heirloom beans White Half Runners and Pink Tipped Half runnersIn our Appalachian Community, White Half Runners aka Mississippi Skip Beans, are the norm. People push and shove to buy White Half Runners at our local farmers market.

White Hastings Bean usually makes an appearance at the Farmers Market as well, a bean believed to have originally been retailed by Hastings Seed of Tennessee. Sean Brock Hillbilly, Preacher, Farmer, Chef is fond of White Hastings Beans and Wild Goose Beans as well. His upcoming book will give the details

Fall Beans, sometimes called October Beans, are an autumn tradition here with several strains of beans showing up at market. Sometimes folks in Appalachia string pole beans for drying, and call them “Leather Britches.” Chef Brock thinks thats funny.

Beans….What do you know?

Friends Drift Inn
Of Hoops, High Tunnels, and Stink Bugs Spring Gardening
For Whom the Bell Tolls Gardening Turnips
Spring Vegetable Gardening

Heirloom Beans Sando is Singing My Song

Chef Sean Brock Hillbilly, Preacher, Farmer, Chef

About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.