2013 Pole Beans

all beans

It was a great year for dried beans in my garden, but not great for snaps.  I was a bit surprised, as it was a cool, wet summer with very little sun.  The beans seemed to get woody quickly and there was a very small window for picking shelly beans.  The dried beans were ready earlier than usual.  I need more room for the pole varieties next year!


Bosnian poleRemy, from Sample Seeds got this variety from a gardener from the Netherlands who got them from a neighbour who fled from Bosnia during the war.  The black, brown and white colouring is unusual, as the plump seeds change over time.  It looked like a green podded romano with 5 to 6″ flat pods.  It stayed stringless for a good length of time.  It did well in my cool wet summer. My yield was outstanding and the beans tasted great.  A grow again variety.


deseronto potatoFrom the Tyendinga Reserve just east of Deseronto, here in Ontario.  It is used dry as a soup thickener or can be mashed like potatoes.  Described as a vigorous twining bush bean, after reading a review of the growth on Seasonal Ontario Food, I decided to grow as a pole bean.  Lucky.  It ended up 8 feet tall with an excellent yield.  It produced steadily in a cool wet season.  I plan on making mashed beans later this week and will replace this with the update.


doloffThe history of this bean is described in great detail on The Extreme Gardener.  Named after Roy Dolloff of Vermont, this is a great green shelly bean or can be used as a dry bean.  It is also supposed to be an excellent baked bean.  The striking squarish flattened seed resembles a lima bean. This one did great in my garden.  I tried the shelly type and it was very tasty.  The dried beans are very pretty. I am hoping to try them out over Christmas.


flaggMay be an Iroquois Indian variety.  Named after Gail Flagg of Maine, who helped to keep the variety from disappearing.  The bean is easy to shell.  It is a large, flat seed shaped like a lima bean with black and white streaks.  Sometimes it grows out with reverse markings.  It is used as a quick cooking dry bean.  Excellent yields.  I didn’t try it green, but it has a lovely buttery texture when cooked as a dry bean.


brown tobacco wormI only had a few seeds for this variety.  I planted it for seed production.  Its large light brown seed was said to have been found in the craw of a goose.  It is a vigorous pole bean.  It grew great for me in my cool wet summer.  I didn’t taste any, showed great will power 😉  It is supposed to be an excellent shelly bean.  The pink colour of the pods on the vine are striking.


mayacoba canario and heritage doreHeritage Dore is a French Canadian heirloom vining bush type of bean.  I grew it as a pole to check how well it would climb.  This one got about 3-4 feet. It would have been better suited to climbing my cornstalks than ending up dwarfed by my other pole types.  It is a dry baking bean that didn’t do well for me this year.  Perhaps it didn’t like the lack of sunlight, unlike the other beans. Maybe I will try it on a cornstalk next year!


rattlesnakeThis is a very popular snap bean.  The dark green pods are streaked with purple.  The purple colouring fades when cooked.  The pods are long, thin, straight and tender.  I love the taste and texture.  I get a huge yield of fantastic beans.  They freeze well.  The plant produces well from midsummer until frost. It seems to pick up a bit in the fall when the weather cools. They are one of the varieties that I grow to eat fresh and also to freeze for winter.


tennessee greasyI had very few seeds, so I grew these out for seed production.  It didn’t produce very well, but I got enough to try again.  The purplish-brown feathered colour is quite striking & was not in the original mix. The tiny square seed are interesting & seem to have stayed true. I will plant them again, but next year I will go back to the North Carolina Greasies.  They missed getting seeded this year when I misplaced my seed pack until it was too late to sow.

BARKSDALE  – no photos

Barksdale is a cool weather loving wax bean.  Mine produced very long, slightly curled, light yellow beans.  They were fairly tasty, but a bit tough.  The production was low compared with Gold of Bacau (from 2012’s garden).  I was a bit surprised, as this summer was cool and wet.  Most beans grew very well, but not his one.  I would give it another try, as it seems to be a favourite wax bean of other gardeners.


I only had 4 seeds of this variety and made one of my mistakes….   It ended up winding itself around the Tennessee Greasy pole beans.  I think that I separated the seeds correctly… but will have to grow them out again to be sure.  If I did it right then it has a very good yield for just 4 seeds 😉  It is said to be a string bean with exceptional snap taste.  Hopefully I will get to try a few next year!

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