Appalachia Folklore

Bean Folklore

bean flowers brightens the dark

*When planting beans press the soil with boot for good luck. (We always do this one. I love to see The Deer Hunter’s boot prints on the rows we plant-I used to like to see Pap’s too)

*Plant beans in the middle of the day for a better yield. (We might have accidentally done this one)

*Beans planted on dark nights will grow the best crops. (Not sure I could see to do this one ๐Ÿ™‚ )

*Plant beans early in the morning if you want to have the crop come in earlier in the season. (Again we might have done this one accidentally if we got an early start)

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

*Beans planted during a leap year will produce more than usual. (I hope I can remember to check this one out)

*Putting bean hulls in the path will make vines grow profusely. (Seems plausible)

*Plant beans in new ground, or under a tree, and there won’t be any bugs on the vines. (Not sure how they’d do under a tree, but we’ve planted in new ground with good luck)

*Beans planted on the full of the moon will begin bearing at the ground and bear all the way up.

*Plant beans on a full moon in April.

*If beans are planted on Good Friday, they will grow well. (Some years Good Friday would be too early here)

*Plant cornfield beans from June first to the fourth Saturday in June. (Granny’s already got her’s planted)

*Beans should not be cultivated during the dog days, as the beans will all drop off. (Wonder if they just left them to rot??)

*It is bad luck to give bean seed away. (I guess I know where all my bad luck has come from now ๐Ÿ™‚ )


Most of the folklore came from The Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore. Always makes me wonder how they came up with the stuff. I suppose there’s truth in all of them, even if that truth no longer exists for us today. I’m happy to say all of our beans are up and growing.


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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 19, 2018 at 3:04 am

    We don’t “stomp” on our bean rows…..we play “patty-cake” over our bean rows… My mother in law used to hoe a row corner deep…then sow not spaced and dropped…but by the hand full. walk and throw/sow in the hoe furrow) her white half runners or other beans like shelly-beans…then pull the dirt back over…then walk on the row up and down a few times…Her beans were so thick nary a weed would dare grow in there and she had more beautiful beans in a short time then you could shake a stick at….
    Later thanks for this wonderful post….

  • Reply
    May 18, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Ha – I laughed about your “bad luck,” Tipper!
    I just got my bean seeds yesterday, as I had to order them from a different place than my other seeds. The past couple of years I’ve gotten very partial to the skinny “French” style beans, which are very tender and tasty. That’s all I’m planting for beans this year – both yellow and green, all pole beans. I can’t lean much, so pole beans are the only kind I grow. Considering all the work I’m still doing little by little in the garden, I guess I’m likely to be planting those beans about the same time as those cornfield beans in your folklore list ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 18, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    I’m glad somebody ast about the cornfield beans, cause I was just thinkin they was ordinary pole beans planted in the corn rows to climb the cornstalks! I’ve heard of this being done. Maybe they were pulling my leg. What do I know?

  • Reply
    May 18, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    What type of beans does everyone plant? Our mountain folks planted white half runners. When I plant them I get what my Momma called stuff hills. The beans have a paper tendency. What causes this?
    And where do you get cornfield beans.
    Iโ€™ve had some good yields of pole beans and Blue lakes, but I love the white half runners.

    • Reply
      May 18, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      Glenda-We mostly plant greasy beans these days, but I grew up on white half runners and still plant at least a row of them. Granny saves her cornfield bean seed from year to year and I’m not sure where you could get some to buy. Maybe try Sow True Seed or one of the other heirloom seed companies. I’m not sure what could cause the beans to have a paper tendency but hopefully someone else will know and they’ll chime in with an answer ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Loved reading ‘ bean folklore’ . Wish my Granny could have read it. I’d love to know her responses. I’d sure like to be able to plant some bunch beans, (hers) but I have red clay. We lost her seed anyway. I don’t mind buying the other vegs, but you can’t buy good green beans in a store.
    I grow rhubarb and jalapeรฑos in pots on the patio.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2018 at 8:51 am

    There’s a scientific name to go along w/ the boot prints, it’s capillary flow. Compressed soil works better to get seeds off to a good start as opposed to scratching a hole because it reconnects seed to to the capillary moisture in the subsoil. Your seeds can get a good head start in freshly tilled & then compressed soil as it gives them a head start over the weed seeds. I learned this from The Deliberate Agrarian, a very experienced New York gardener. I highly recommend his book:

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    May 17, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    The Blind Pig is like one of my kids. If it fails to show up when I expect it, I go looking for it. Your blog is an important part of my life and I ain’t ashamed to tell everbody.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 17, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    I didn’t get an e-mail of the Blind Pig today, so I looked of under yesterday’s post in the lower right hand corner and clicked. I had the same thing happen on the 11th, wonder if anyone else has had a
    problem? …Ken

    • Reply
      May 17, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      Ken-other people had the same issue. WordPress or A2 my hosting, failed to send out the notice. Maybe the’ll get things straightened out before long. So glad you knew how to find me anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    May 17, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I remember one about beans being good for your heart but I think that referred to dry beans and comes with some harsh side effects sometimes.
    I love good fresh green beans. I enjoy the stringing, specking and breaking as much as eating them. I have never tried pole beans, always bush varieties. I have collected an array of repurposed junk for them to climb on with the intentions of trying them this year but recent events have put the brakes on all my gardening interests. It’s not too late I don’t think to put in something. Everything always tastes better when you can grow it yourself!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 17, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I’ve always heard “opinions are like a_ _ _ _ _ _ _ s, everybody’s got one”, cause I’ve given away more green bean seed than you can shake a stick at.

    To avoid so much heat, one time I came in early and picked several rows of beans. Then I drove them a far piece to give ’em to a lady I know. (her husband was in the hospital) When she asked if they were strung and broke, that ’bout went all over me. But calmly I told her that if I had thought, I’d have cooked them too. Anyway she had 3 youngins out of High School. …Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 17, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Folklore is always like that, some of it seems right then some of it I think, what? That can’t have any bearing on growing beans. Guess that’s why it’s called folklore, cause all kinds of folks have an opinion!

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