Beans, Beans and more Beans

People often ask me why I have such a long list of seeds and why do I bother with all the varieties. Wouldn't it be better to have just one type of tomato, pepper, potato or bean? But the answer is always "no, life would be too boring if we only had 1 of each". All the taste, texture, different flavors that vary so much - how can you not enjoy them? Last year I did the spotlight of different tomatoes and how they go from smoky and complex to almost fruit-like and non-acid flavors. So this time the spotlight is on beans. There are too many varieties in the world with some being grown for dry beans that can be stored for winter, and some for eating fresh, or can be done as both. They can be categorized in several groups:
  • Green beans
  • Yellow Wax
  • French Filet
  • Asian Yard long
  • Cow peas (technically a bean)
  • others such as Soy, Lima and Broad bean (Fava)
And then you have choice of bush or pole - do you want to have neat little bush to pick from or do you prefer to see a wall of climbing beans that makes it fun trying to put them into towers/walls and you won't have to bend too much to pick them?

And of course all those gorgeous colors - bright yellow, purple, speckled, red, dark and light green etc. I can only wish I had enough space for many more to plant. I'm not a fan of dry beans - never got to really like them, but I do have few varieties that I like to grow for eating fresh:
So from top to bottom in the picture of what I picked yesterday:

  • Kentucky Wonder - heirloom bean, with traditional "green bean" flavor.
  • Romano Purpiat - deep purple wide bean that turns green when cooked - very tasty stringless bean and very quickly becoming one of my favorites for its buttery taste.
  • Garden green bean - Tenderbush - the typical green bean you get in a store.
  • Purple Velour - french filet variety, with slim and crunchy texture and very pleasant taste.
  • Dragon Tongue - this can be used as fresh or let it grow out and dry for winter, but I like it fresh. It's nice and buttery when young but if it's overgrown can get a bit stringy so I pick them when they're still flat.
  • Roc D'or - this is a pole variety that I love for both taste and texture, and in addition it really a heavy producer.  This is a yellow wax type with very mild buttery taste, perfect for a side dish and stores well in a freezer if I blanch it.
  • Green Slenderette - another french filet, small in size but nice crisp taste. Not a heavy producer though so not sure if I will grow it next year.
  • Soliel - yellow french filet, very slender, crisp and somewhat brittle in texture (breaks often when I harvest) but has pleasant flavor.
  • And last in the picture is soy bean - green butterbean. I like steaming them and eating fresh with a little bit of salt to enhance flavor.

Not pictured that I tried this year are Dolico - more like a cow-peas but can be used as a green bean. I was not happy with the flavor and pulled out plants after first try. Garden yellow - brittle wax was mostly destroyed by groundhog though I did get first few flushes out of it. French Gold pole bean - lovely taste and texture, but not as good as Roc D'or. Red Noodle and Gita was destroyed by groundhog and never got to produce, and Purple Queen was demolished as well, but I had it last year and liked it flavor very much.

So here you have it, few varieties to think about and I have a long list that I want to try next year in addition to what I already have.


  1. Oh my goodness - who are these people and what is wrong with them?? ;) What a wonderful variety you have there. I too love beans - the dried ones too - and hopefully will be able to expand the varieties I grow next year.

    1. Heh, you'd be surprised how many people think "green beans" are the only one type or "red tomato" is what it should be. I hope you'll get to try new varieties next year.

  2. That is a lot of different kinds of beans. I grew three this year. Kentucky Wonder, Golden Gate, and yardlong. Though yardlong isn't very vigorous and I need to grow it someplace besides near the aggressive Kentucky Wonder. It took it over. I think next year I might just grow two kinds. I like variety but having enough of one kind so they cook consistently is good too.

    1. I separate mine into groups so KW is mixed with Romano Purplait and Dragon Tongue as they cook the same, and my french fillets all combined together. That way I avoid any undercooked/overcooked issues.

  3. What an amazing variety of beans! I guess I should get out of my rut and try some different things! Nancy

    1. Sometimes it's fun to try new things so hope you'll get to do that next year.

  4. I'm with you, I like variety and trying new things. I grew 5 kinds this year, 2 of which were new to me.