Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Bean Planting Folklore

My life in appalachia - Bean Folklore

*When planting beans press the soil with boot for good luck.

*Plant beans in the middle of the day for a better yield.

*Beans planted on dark nights will grow the best crops.

*Plant beans early in the morning if you want to have the crop come in earlier in the season.

*Plant beans when the elms leaves are as big as a penny.

*Beans planted during a leap year will produce more than usual.

Confusing list of folklore uh? Last year I shared-how we plant our beans-if you missed it you can go here.

Do you plant beans in rows-hills-or with the corn? And maybe I should ask if you’ve ever planted them at night? Got any bean folklore to add?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    We planted ours in long straight rows. I don’t remember any folklore about it, but I do remember one summer, our city cousin came out to help us plant, and our dad told him he was planting the green bean seeds wrong, that the white spot on the side of the bean seed had to be straight up because that’s the way the bean plant would grow, and if it was down or sideways, the plant would grow down or sideways in the soil and would never see the light of day or grow any green beans. Well, that kid went back down his row and put the white spot up on every single seed, our dad sitting on a picnic bench nearby quietly laughing the whole time. Finally the boy saw our sister Pattie’s seeds weren’t white spot up and called her on it which is when Dad admitted the joke. I don’t think he ever quite trusted dad after that, but I believe he did admire dad til dad’s dying day. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Tammy Flectcher
    May 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Poked my seeds in the ground today and flagged them. I planted them in the rain and the same gentle rain continues here…..perfect transplanting weather. For seeds, I expect to see a crook or two by Saturday!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    May 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I plant my beans in rows — only bush beans. And I always step on them to firm the soil around them.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I have never heard any of that folklore. I just plant bush beans, in rows, preferably just before we’re due to get rain. I think beans pretty much always produce well!

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    May 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Tipper, this is the easiest way to plant beans or peas, but it is hard on your rear end. My sisters and myself were the three oldest girls and one day Daddy told us to plant the beans on the hillside field, you know, where you have to have one short leg and one long one to get around it. Well, my oldest sister decided we had planted enough beans. There was a hollow stump near by and she poured the beans in the stump. Well, we didn’t think about it raining and the beans coming up. Daddy found them coming up out of the stump and did we get a good one.
    “Hillside Walking”
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

    As you know I’m really blessed with topsoil black dirt. And my
    favorite thing in the garden is
    White Half Runners. After stretching a string in a straight
    line, I just turn the hoe at an
    angle and dig a small ‘V’ across
    the garden, plant two beans at a
    time about 8″ apart, cover only
    1″ deep and they do really well.
    The staking, wires, and runner
    strings is where the work is. I
    bet the birds flying over think
    he’s a George Bush fan cause all
    three rows are full of W’s.
    I had to replant a few spots due
    to those pesky rabbits having an
    appetite for young shoots. They
    were coming up in 5 days and they
    got sprayed real good this time.
    I just wish the weeds wouldn’t
    grow so fast…Ken

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I remember my grandmother planting beans in groups of five. She always said, “one for the bug, one for the crow, one for to rot, and two for to grow.”

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

    We plant some beans with our corn and then some in rows. This year we are planting our white half runners with the corn and then I planted some rattlesnake beans in a row. I plan on planting my test seeds today and they will be at the end of one row. I really want to plant more shell type beans but as of right now I have more wants than garden space.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 23, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Tipper–I have always planted beans when the ground was dry and I could get to it. Those are my signs! They almost always produce well. This year I’ve got mountain half-runners (seed courtesy of Ken) and they are blooming and running up my twine climbing apparatus like nobody’s business. I planted in rows, as I’ve always done.
    As for mixing them in with corn, we did that with October beans (shelly beans) when I was a boy. My preference is to plant field peas with the corn, although any more corn is a non-starter with me because of squirrels.
    I can’t beat the bushytails but I’m a leg up on deer. A double fencing arrangement works perfectly. Mine is 7-foot netting on the inside (readily available through various sources, and mine can do double duty to cover ripening blueberries and thornless blackberries) and a white band about three feet outside that at a height of maybe 30 inches. I tried a lot of things before hitting on this. So far (now in third year) it has worked. Quite a bit of trouble but worth the effort.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 23, 2012 at 9:41 am

    A few times come to mind when pondering the planting of beans, etc…at night…Usually we might be working hard trying to get the garden in and the last few rows got planted at dark or dusk…
    The other time was when we were kids after hearing the story on the kids radio hour or being read “Jack in the Beanstalk” so many time…Yep, we slipped and got some beans…I think they were from a jar of pintos, and planted them..It was after dark, cause back in our day kids played outside after dark, (remember “kick the can” and scary “hide and seek?” The beans came up but got mowed over by the push mower..(We tried to hide the trail of wishes but got a little bit laughed at.)This was a real rotating, hand push mower, with long thin rotating blades…Sooo, dreams of finding the Golden Goose, passed by the wayside with growth, and other childhood dreams. like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or a treasure chest in the yard after finding a shiny bobble stuck in the dirt…LOL
    Hope we get to plant our test beans today or tomorrow..We had quite a bit of rain..but maybe we can find a dry spot..The misplaced wildflowers are finding their way into the squash and maters as well, with the rain…
    One good thing, DH planted a good stand of grass, straw covered, after grading, where the new chicken house will be…planted on the good sign…so it is doing well…
    Tipper for a bean memory…
    Oh, we have planted in hills, rows on hills, build t-pees and planted around the t-pees. My dear passed Mother-in-law, said one time when we were trying to get in a garden..Let me show you how to plant half-runners…She actually grabbed a handfull and sowed the beans down the row…took the hoe and pulled the dirt over them…then stood and looked at us and said, “See there, don’t take no time to plant a garden”! LOL
    While we would stand there in amazement, thinking those are so thick they’ll never make…but they did and shaded theirself from the weeds, climbed over each other and made backbreaking work picking bushel after bushel of beans…LOL

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 8:52 am

    It doesn’t matter how much love, work, folklore or prayers I put into raising my beans, the deer always gets more than I do. I plant in rows and then smother them with Sevin Dust from the time they poke out of the ground until harvest time. Any folklore on when and how to plant that will keep animals away?

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    May 23, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I planted my beans in rows, midday and according to the signs. They look really good now and fingers are crossed that they will produce well!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Ed certainly covered all the bases – stalks, and rows of hills! The value comparison made me smile 🙂
    No bean lore to add to your list, Tipper, but if the weather hadn’t shifted I would have been experimenting with a new method – “plant beans in the rain” – this year! So good to see blue sky today.

  • Reply
    Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits
    May 23, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I’ve never planted beans in the middle of the night, but I have planted, harvested and watered in my nightgown. Does that count? 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    May 23, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Back when Pop and Granny shared our garden, we planted the ‘shelly beans’ in with the corn and waited to pick them when the seeds rattled, Pop said they shaded the corn…
    The ‘string beans were planted in hills down the row and then a sort of tepee was added as they grew for climbing.
    Not so ‘old fashioned, our beans are now in rows, Hubby has a pole at each end and wires strung for them to climb.
    This is leap year, so I will let you know later if they do better this year than last, they look to be coming on right good now.
    However you do it, happy harvesting!

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    May 23, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I guess planting beans on dark nights means to plant them on a New Moon. After that, the waxing moon will draw them out!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    May 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

    We usually plant bush beans, but I told my husband that if we planted beans this year they would be the climbing kind. Bush beans were too hard to pick, guess you can tell I’m getting old. We plant ours in a row. Since this is a leap year, maybe we should plant a crop of them. The only folklore I can think of at the moment is about the bean leaf. When we were young we always rubbed a bean leaf on a wart, if we had any, put the leaf under a rock and when the leaf rotted your wart would be gone :o)

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 23, 2012 at 7:12 am

    I guess one of the above is why my beans didn’t do so well. My mother used to say it was because I didn’t hold my mouth right.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 23, 2012 at 5:24 am

    When I was young we had beans in both rows and in the cornfield. We never staked our beans then. The cornstalks serve as a support for the cornfield beans. We planted bush beans in the garden in hills. But the hills were in rows. So?
    I don’t ever plant beans in hills anymore. I simply cannot provide the comparison to my own value.

  • Leave a Reply