Appalachia Gardening

Results From The Blind Pig & The Acorn Bean Project

Sow true bean project

Earlier this Summer I told you about the Blind Pig & The Acorn Bean Project sponsored by Sow True Seed. If you missed it or have forgotten-here is the gist of the project:

Sow True Seed sent me seeds from most of their bean varieties. I, along with 4 Blind Pig & the Acorn @ Large Bean Reporters planted the seeds and over the course of the summer we kept track of the following attributes:

  • early growth
  • bean vine
  • growth throughout the season
  • harvest
  • and perhaps most important-taste

I haven’t received the final results from all of the Blind Pig & the Acorn @ Large Bean Reporters yet, but below, you can see the results from the Bean Varieties I tested.

Sow true seed lima bean pole

Lima Bean King of the Garden Pole proved true to it’s name in the sense that the beans reached the top of the bean teepee. But the vines didn’t produce one bean.

Black Kabouli Beans Sow True Seed

I planted the Black Kabouli Garbanzo Beans 3 times-with no success of any sprouting.

Sow true seed marys pole bean

Mary’s Pole Beans acted more like a bush bean. The leaves look shriveled and crinkly from the beginning and the vines never did climb the poles we had erected for them. Mary’s Pole Bean did produce-but not much. We got about a handful of beans from each teepee.

Sow true seed succotash beans

The Succotash Beans started out looking good but trickled back to nothing before summer was over and didn’t produce one bean.

Asparagus Bean

The most interesting bean I tried for Sow True Seed was the Asparagus Bean. The beans grow up to 2ft long! The Asparagus beans were fabulous producers. When I first seen those long beans I thought how in the world will I cook them? They don’t really have much of a string-so that wasn’t a big issue. I cut the beans in pieces and steamed them. The Asparagus Beans have a great taste and the plants seemed to be immune to the bugs.

The Lima Henderson Bush Beans looked very healthy and full all summer. And they produced bean pods-but somehow the actual bean inside never fully matured. The pods stayed flat until they finally begin to turn brown and brittle.

Sow true seed romano bush bean

Sow True Seed’s Bush Bean Romano #14 was a fantastic producer for us. The beans are long and flat looking and very tasty.

Sow true seed romano beans

I steamed the Romano beans and added nothing more than salt and pepper. The beans have a great taste and texture and even the picky eaters in the Blind Pig house like them.

Sow true Seed pole romano beans

Sow True Seed also has a pole variety of Romano beans-we tested them out too. They didn’t seem to be as prolific as the bush variety-although they looked the same-and were equally as tasty.

Sow True Seed Bush Bean Mountain Half Runner

We typically grow white half runners. For the last 2 years we’ve grown a variety handed down through a local family for generations. The beans are supplied to us by Kenneth Roper (THANK YOU KENNETH). We plant the majority of our beans in Pap’s big garden. Sadly this year-the big garden was swamped by all the rain and was almost a total loss.

The variety that Kenneth shares with us-and the white half runners we’ve grown in the past have always been pole beans that we have to trellis. So I was anxious to see how Sow True Seed’s Mountaineer Half Runner Bush Bean compared. Sow True Seed’s Mountaineer Half Runner Bush Bean was a good producer. The beans were pretty with not many spots-and very tasty. I do think the plants could have benefited from some sort of support though.

Doyce Chambers Sow True Seed Greasy Cut Shorts

And last on my list is the Doyce Chambers Greasy Cut-short Pole Beans. These beans started off great-climbing quickly to the top of the their bean teepees but they seem to fall behind as summer progressed and didn’t produce as many beans as I had hoped. The beans were full and tasty.

I’m positive the bean varieties that didn’t perform well, suffered from our rainy summer. Cherokee County is close to 17 inches above normal rainfall levels.

I did have one more variety to test-Fava Beans. I planted them about 2 weeks ago-I’ll let you know how they grow. And I’ll share the results from the Blind Pig & the Acorn @ Large Bean Reporters when I get them.

Sow True Seed has been very good to the Blind Pig & the Acorn over the last 2 years, and I certainly hope our partnership continues into the future.


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  • Reply
    September 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    A little plate of white half- runners with lots of shellies, a piece of corn bread, strip of green onion, and a drink of iced tea sure would be good.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Although I lost my entire patch of
    white half runners to all the rain,
    usually after the harvest I have
    just thousands of Morning Glorys
    take over. But this year they didn’t even grow. Thank goodness, I have enough canned left overs for another year.
    Most of my tomatoes were supplied
    by you and the Deer Hunter, and I
    got over 150 from about 12 plants.
    Didn’t have any blossom end rot!
    It’s a jungle over there now but
    other than the beans, I had a good

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Our beans didn’t do well either. We didn’t plant enough to can or freeze though we usually get a few extra for a bag or two for the freezer. NOT, this year.
    We love Roma or Romano beans for the flaver and nearly everyone is just perfect flat shape.
    For a lot of beans we usually plant the old tried and true white half-runners as well. Blue Lake bush used to be the bean I favored and planted when making pickled beans for the family. Since they are long and straight as an arrow without getting tough.
    I think I will try those asparagus beans next year and cook them whole curled up in the pan, wouldn’t that be a hoot to serve company!
    OOoooooh, Fava Beans for Halloween…Reminds me of the movie. Did you plant any October beans as well! LOL
    Great Test this year! My opinion of the season is, if the sun would shine while it was raining we would all be covered in bean plants! I think no sun with the lowered rain temperture hurt crops all over. Our tomatoes were pitiful and not tasty at all.
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    September 23, 2013 at 9:18 am

    In the past, I have planted many varieties of green beans and always go back to white half runners. Someone gave me some heirloom greasy beans a few years ago that were great producers and almost as tasty as white half runners. Not many people I know had any luck with their beans due to the rainy spring and summer.

  • Reply
    steve in Tn
    September 23, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Candid report. I don’t blame any seed for what happened to our gardens this year…it was an odd year for peas, beans, tomatoes and peppers. But, I have okra to the extreme.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 23, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Tipper, I’ve met Carol at Sow True here in Asheville. She is such a kind and enthusiastic woman and she thinks very highly of the Blind Pig.
    I’m afraid this can’t be considered a very good bean test for Sow True (don’t you just love that name, Sow True) because the excessive rain this summer was damaging to most all crops. It completely ruined all your corn crop this year.
    I’m anxious to see how the Fava Beans do. I like them a lot.
    That Asparagus bean is the funniest looking bean I’ve ever seen but, hey, isn’t it nice not to have to string it.

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    September 23, 2013 at 7:33 am

    WE had a bad bean summer too. Too much rain.My beans are just now producing after just sitting there all summer. Beautiful plants just no beans. LOts of flowers and little beans, praying they will keep growing.Now we are getting the cold temps so not sure if I will get any to can. I planted a Non tough half runner and several greasy beans from Heirloom beans in Berea, Ky. Barbara Gantt

  • Reply
    September 23, 2013 at 7:29 am

    That was an interesting bean story. I have never tried to grow them, but as you said, the amount of rain probably had a great deal to do their progress. Perhaps, setting up some sort of drainage around the plants might have been a help. I know the seeds I planted for Morning Glories and Moon Flowers did not grown on my arbor as has been done for years, but the seeds floated away from the rain and grew all over my ground cover and surrounding bushes. I will have a mess to clear out when the season is over.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 23, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I really love most every bean you planted. My favorites are the pole bean and the asparagus bean, we call them yard long beans around here.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    September 23, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Well Tipper, I think you are ready for the ‘research world’ with all the important details you have garnered and recorded on your BEAN PROJECT – or is it gardened? The green beans we buy at the grocery store are about all we get these days. And you know they are nothing to brag about as compared to your fine BEAN PROJECT!
    Happy Picking – in the Sunshine!
    Eva Nell

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