Appalachia Gardening

Results From The Blind Pig & the Acorn @ Large Bean Reporters

The Blind Pig & The Acorn’s Bean Project was sponsored by Sow True Seed.

Sow True Seed sent 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

A few weeks ago, I shared the results of my test varieites, today I’d like to share the results from the @ Large Bean Reporters.

Photo by Vicki Lane

Western NC author, Vicki Lane, reporting on the Lima Bean Dixie Speckled Butterpea Bush Bean:

Oh, Tipper — there were problems. First a groundhog nibbled them, setting them back, but they went on to flower. At last they began to bear but not heavily — never enough that I could try a mess fresh. And then the deer invaded. I managed to salvage some for seed but the overall experience was not great — as much my fault as anything. I’ll try them next year and hope to taste them.


Quinn reporting


Second: Quinn reporting on perhaps the funniest named bean-Lazy Wife Greasy Pole Beans:

Since this was an experiment, I did 3 small plantings, in 2 locations, working around a stretch of very wet weather. First, on 31 May, I planted a short row of ten beans by the goat barn. These seeds were presoaked to give them a headstart on germinating.

In only four days, the cotyledons began to appear. It was tremendously exciting! Really, does this sight ever get old?


After 9 days, these bean plants began popping up piecemeal over several days, and on the 14th of June, I planted the remaining 20+ seeds along the same fence. These last seeds were not soaked first. To my astonishment, eight days later, they all came up simultaneously. One morning there was a perfect row of beans greeting the sun, where the day before there had been only a line pressed into the ground.

them stringless exactly


I wouldn’t call them “stringless” exactly

but I’ve never minded stringing beans, so maybe I’m not quite as lazy as the “lazy wife” these beans were named for! But…had they grown too big? Would they be tough?


Steamed them whole

Steamed them whole…to accompany a little leftover roast chicken. Delicious beans! Meaty, yet tender. Lovely flavor.


Photo by Patti

Third: Patti, aka Osage Bluff Quilter, reporting on: Snap Bush Royal Burgundy:

They were planted June 10th, conditions were a little on the dry side. Our row was about 20 feet long. I did water them a little. Twelve days later they were popping through the dirt. I must say we don’t have the best soil here in mid-Missouri. There is a lot of clay in the soil. We have, over the past three years since building our gardens, added a lot of cow manure.

Growth was slow, blooms were just as slow. But when they came, they were beautiful purple blooms. I wanted to cut
them and bring them inside they were so pretty. But I resisted knowing what the consequences would be!

Serving purple beans 005 Photo of Snap Bush Royal Burgundy after cooking

Our first picking gave us only enough to make a nice size meal. That was on July 26th. Two weeks later they really started producing. I first canned 5 quarts and a week after that I canned 7 pints.

In the end, we really liked the beans, they were good producers just a little later than what we were use to.


Photo by Lise

Lise from Lise’s Log Cabin Life reporting on 2 bean varities: Strike Snap Bush Bean and Margaret Best Greasy Cut-short Pole Bean.

Photo by Lise 2

  • Snap – these grew well from the beginning and began producing early on
  • Greasy Cut – took a very long time to get big enough to produce flowers
  • Snap – prolific and still producing, nice sturdy bean
  • Greasy Cut- it took a while to get the beans
  • Snap – awesome…sweet, crispy, beautiful green, very appealing looking
  • Greasy Cut- pods are a little tough, the seeds inside are big and a little hard. They tasted OK, but can’t compare to the snap beans and even our pole and bush beans tasted better

Photo by Lise 3

  • Snap – we are saving seeds from these and are looking forward to planting them again
  • Greasy Cut- we are saving some seeds, but I don’t know that we will plant again.  They also yellow very quickly, both on and off the vine.
  • Even though it wasn’t the best summer for gardening, we had tremendous success with our beans. Like I said before, they’re still producing!


I hope you enjoyed the bean reporting! How cool is it that the Snap Bush Royal Burgundy start out purple-but turn green once they are cooked? I think I’d like to grow them for that reason alone!

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. If you’ve never signed up for their free newsletter-jump over to their website and do so. The newsletter always has interesting gardening information and tips in it. Sow True Seed also has a great blog-you can subscribe to it for free as well.


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  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    All these Bean Reports are interesting. Thanks to all who
    participated for us. I’m glad the
    growing season is over for me, but
    by next March I hope to be at it

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 11:18 am

    There used to be this real neat lady that went our church years ago. Once at one of the church dinners she brought some green beans. These beans tasted the way I had always wanted green beans to taste but somehow never did. When somebody ask her how she cooked them so good she said, “It’s no big secret, If yours aren’t that good it is just because you didn’t cook them long enough!” If they are steamed they will still be good, pretty and green, but they won’t taste as good. Tipper reminded me of that lady in her reply to shirla when she said to cook them to death. Oh yes, she didn’t add a whole lot of seasoning just a tablespoon of vegetable oil.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Location and Soil information (like Osage Bluff’s comments) would be helpful also. Do different varieties prefer certain soil types? What about soil temperature?
    Have you tried fresh beans cut in small bits in a fresh leaf salad? You’ll find that beans don’t have to be cooked to be tasty.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 3, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Before I comment on the beans,and since there is no perfect time except all the time praying without ceasing!
    Could folks please be praying for all those Statesville NC families that were connected to the tragic wreck in Tennessee yesterday afternoon. Also, be thinking of the first responders that had to deal with the aftermath.
    Thanks Tipper and all!
    I can just see jars of those beautiful snap beans, marching around in the jar, straight as a soldier pickled to perfection!
    I can not only see them I can almost taste them. We love pickled green beans, as well as okra, etc.
    I think I would try these beans.
    Also, the Royal Burgundy and the Lazy Wife Greasy Pole beans.
    I understand the Lazy part! What about the Greasy part of the bean. Do they feel slick, or only after being cooked? I have heard of NC greasy beans from NC for years but have never tried the heirloom beans…Some families never give up their favored bean seeds, I’ve heard. The bean staying in the families for generations! Do you think this is a true story or a folk tale?
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Shirla-I never ate greenbeans whole and steamed until I met Miss Cindy! They are really good-but I still love them cooked to death the way Granny makes them too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I’ve never tried beans steamed or whole. I suppose I cook mine too long, the way Mom taught me. She broke hers in small pieces that didn’t always stay in one piece when they were ready to eat.
    The snap bean, grown by Lise, sounds like a variety I would like to try.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 9:01 am

    The bean reports were very interesting. It’s always fun to compare successful/unsuccessful garden stories. I wonder if a net placed over the beans would have protected them from the hungry critters. I had to use a net over my green pepper plants.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 3, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Tipper, I think it is so cool that you gardeners can help Sow True with feed back on their bean seed. It is a wonderful gift to us that Sow True cares enough to plan for our future by collecting these amazing non-altered seeds and making them available to everyone who wants to plant them.
    Some of those beans are interesting. Lise’s snap beans seem the best bet from all of them. Who would have thought that the humble snap bean would be the star among all these fancy varieties. There is a saying about that, isn’t there…..the simple things in life.

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