Pole Beans

comments (15) December 8th, 2009

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Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, member
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Blue Coco beans darken as they mature.
Rattlesnake beans have a slightly nutty flavor and a gorgeous mottled look.
Romano pole beans are very reliable and productive.
Blue Coco beans darken as they mature.Click To Enlarge

Blue Coco beans darken as they mature.

Photo: Kate Frank

For reliability and yield, you can't beat pole beans. You'll need some kind of support, of course, so that's a little extra work, but the trade-off is more exposure to sunlight and ease of picking. And because they grow up rather than out, they use space efficiently. If you plant them on the northern edge of your garden or garden bed, you can plant lower-growing and/or earlier-maturing crops in front of them.

Pole beans need support

  Sources for pole bean seeds

You can buy bean seeds almost anywhere you can buy seeds, but not everyone offers a wide selection of pole beans and heirloom beans.

For that (and for the varieties mentioned here), I'd suggest Fedco Seeds, Pinetree Garden Seeds, or Seed Savers Exchange.
Pole beans grow tall (really tall) if they have something to twine around. You can plant them in hills around a central pole, or in a row under a wire or vertical netting. My bean supports are lengths of welded wire fencing. I sometimes extend them vertically with saplings and string, but this isn't entirely necessary; the vines will just flop down over the top of the fencing and continue to grow and produce. Other possibilities are tipis made of saplings (these are especially fun for children), cages, wires, and wooden trellises.

Time your planting to avoid pests
Bean seeds should be planted after the last killing frost, when the ground has warmed up a bit.l Here in Connecticut, I used to plant beans mid-May. The vines would grow well initially, but then Mexican bean beetles turned the leaves to lace. Eventually I stumbled on an easy way to avoid the problem: plant later in the season. I now plant the seeds early to mid-July, along the same fencing that supported the snow peas and snap peas earlier in the season. No beetles appear, and we enjoy a bountiful bean harvest from late August to frost.

Three beans varieties
I grow my beans for the fresh pods, not to dry the seeds, which would require a much larger planting than I have space for. I currently grow three types: Romano, Rattlesnake, and Blue Coco.

 Romano pole bean    Rattlesnake pole bean    Blue Coco pole bean
 Romano pole bean.    Rattlesnake bean.    Blue Coco bean.

Romano is a vigorous, productive variety, with flat pods that have something of a buttery flavor. Rattlesnake is a bit more exotic. Also a vigorous grower, it produces pods that are long and slender, with characteristic purplish streaks and blotches. Blue Coco is new to my garden. It's a French heirloom that dates back to the 18th century, and I ordered seeds on a whim. The vines grew more slowly than the other two varieties, but by the end of the season, they had more than caught up. The beans are a very dark blue/purple, and I find them much tastier than Royal Purple Burgundy beans.

Unfortunately, Rattlesnake and Blue Coco lose their coloring when cooked. For maximum visual impact, serve them raw in salads or add them veggie platters.

Pasta with Summer Vegetables and Lemon Basil Green bean recipes:

Pickled Green Beans
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
Pasta with Summer Vegetables and Lemon Basil

More green bean recipes from FineCooking.com... 


posted in: beans

Comments (15)

Arthorbrown writes: healthy for health
Posted: 12:11 am on November 9th
smithjohn12 writes: Awesome look
Posted: 1:52 am on October 4th
Valerieones writes: yummy beans i like it
Posted: 4:09 am on September 21st
doriswhite writes: Mind Blowing
Posted: 1:38 am on September 20th
stephengreen44 writes: Mervelous
Posted: 5:17 am on September 5th
samdavis54 writes: Good Job
Posted: 12:13 am on August 30th
daveabbott writes: thanks for sharing useful information
Posted: 5:13 am on July 13th
youngrichard12 writes: I just love ruttlesnake beans. I have never blue coco but i am sure it tastes delicious.
Posted: 5:27 pm on January 18th
GeorgeMichael writes: great
Posted: 4:50 am on October 28th
DonnaAthey writes: gud for health
Posted: 6:48 am on July 9th
bobbyWalker writes: high in protien
Posted: 2:03 am on May 18th
JimNagel writes: greatttt
Posted: 4:42 am on May 16th
tanagaba writes: Now it is time to plant my beans. Lots of great info here.
Posted: 2:39 pm on August 19th
Ruth writes: Our tastes are similar. Romano used to be my favorite, but I think I like Rattlesnake a bit better now. Definitely try the Blue Coco if you have space; you won't be sorry.
Posted: 9:02 am on February 8th
Aberwacky writes: I love Rattlesnake pole beans--they have a wonderful beany flavor, and the coloration of the pods makes them easy to pick. They're also one of the earliest pole beans I grow, and produce well in hotter weather, too. They do develop strings if you let them get even the slightest bit big, but the flavor makes it worth stringing them.

For a purple bean, I love Triofono Violetto, which has a better flavor than Burgandy. I'll have to look into the Blue Coco bean.

I also grow Romano--a very dependable bean, and still tastes great even when you let it get too big.

I grow my pole beans on arches made from hog panels--it makes picking them so much easier--I just walk through the arch, and pick the beans as they hang down. Plus, I'm picking them in the shade they create!
Posted: 10:51 am on February 5th
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