Appalachia Gardening

Sow True Seed Bean Project

Sow true bean project

Sow True Seed has sponsored the Blind Pig garden for the past 2 years-their seeds are awesome! This year, the fine folks at Sow True Seed wanted me to focus on Beans.

With an eye on the future, Sow True Seed has taken a stand to help insure the purity of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds-so future generations can continue to grow their favorite veggies-save their seed from year to year and continue the circle of growing that our ancestors have handed down to us without having to worry about genetically altered seed strains.

What a wonderful endeavor Sow True Seed is trying to accomplish! But it’s also very labor intensive. It takes a lot of work to ensure the purity of those seeds-and as Neely, from Sow True Seed, told me-“the company needs to make sure the seed varieties are worth the effort.”

That’s where the Blind Pig & the Acorn Bean Project came into play.

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’ll keep track of the following attributes:

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

Blind Pig & The Acorn Bean Reporters @ Large 

Western NC author, Vicki Lane, is reporting on Lima Bean Dixie Speckled Butterpea Bush Beans. Now that’s a mouthful to say!

Quinn is reporting on perhaps the funniest named bean-Lazy Wife Greasy Pole Beans.

Patti is reporting on a bean I’ve never even heard of: Snap Bush Royal Burgundy.

Lise stepped up to report on 2 bean varities: Strike Snap Bush Bean and Margaret Best Greasy Cut-short Pole Bean.

I can’t wait to see if the Reporters @ Large have success with their beans! I’ll tell you about the bean varieties I’m growing in a few days.


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  • Reply
    July 8, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Jim-I’ve had good luck storing my seeds in a cool dry place. I usually fold them in a paper towel-which would wick away any remaining moisture.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    July 8, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Theresa-The Deer Hunter LOVES fried green tomatoes too!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    July 6, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I think open pollinated, heritage seeds are the way to go with everything. We need to not only preserve our heritage, but the goodness of the foods that we used to have! I bought seeds from Baker Creek for the last couple of years. I got scarlet runner beans as my mother loved them. I didn’t get any new seeds this year and LOL….one of us didn’t save the beans out that I had set aside for seed, so will buy new seeds again. Another type that I’d like to try are cherokee beans. (oh face it, there are a jillion kinds I’d like to try!) We did purple podded pole beans last year and they produced well, and the kids were thrilled. This year, I just planted the ends of packages that I found squirreled away in my garden cupboard, and they actually came up, so have beans growing, although heaven only knows what kind this year. heehee. What are the greasy beans? I’ve seen them in the seed catalog for Baker Creek and Sow True and was wondering just what they are. I’m hoping that the squash take off soon….I’ve never had them take this long to decide to actually start vining, and I have 6 varieties…I was hungry for squash, can you tell??? LOL The San Marzano tomatoes are starting to put on their interestingly shaped little tomatoes…still very small and green, but fasincating to look at and drool over.
    Does anyone besides me love fried green tomatoes? My mother was from Missouri and my Gram from New York state, but both of them fixed fried green tomatoes and I absolutely love them…but none of the rest of the family is very fond of them. Sometimes I don’t think it’s just the way you were raised, as I used to fix them all the time when the kids were little and no one but me ever appreciated them. LOL I really enjoy everyone talking about their gardens!Happy gardens to all!

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    This all sounds so interesting, can hardly wait to get the “Sow True Seeds” bean research results.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    The Nantahala White Runners Jim
    commented on certainly are the
    strongest lived bean I’ve ever seen.
    When the little ole 94 year old
    (who ate supper with me for the
    last 15 years of his life) gave me
    the seed, he said they were real
    runners. His wife’s family had been
    replanting this bean for over a
    hundred years and enjoying the
    harvest. I love ’em!…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    My mother used to save and trade bean seeds with friends and neighbors. She always named them for whoever she got them from. Anybody got any Harvey beans?

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    July 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

    You talk about disconnected – but I am not in tune with all these many varieties of beans! I strung and broke so many green beans back in the NC mountains that today they are NOT my favorite vegetable! But I am truly impressed with all the knowledge on growing and spreading the word on beans throughout this gardening blog!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 5, 2013 at 9:34 am

    The Lazy Wife bean is. I believe, is named for being at that time a type of near stringless bean and easy to snap!
    We have a friend that is growing 72 varieties of heirloom beans…
    They started in the heirloom variety business a few years ago.
    I have grown the Turkey Craw bean and love it. I also love a little peanut bean, can’t remember the name, but small and tasty. It does take a while to get a bowl full…LOL…but worth it!
    I am hoping to get a little greasy bean from NC….that my relatives planted and I remember them talking about. Being new they are sold out of their Greasy bean, but not sure if it is the same variety.
    We weren’t going to plant beans this year…but put in a couple of rows of our favorite Roma bean.
    They are a large flat Italian bean and we love them…Also planted some pole beans…Kentucky Wonder and a Blue Kentucky climber…not sure about that one…Mind you these are very small rows, only engough to eat and freeze and feed the deer! At this particular time and day they are turning into Tennessee Raised Garden Soup Beans…I just hope they don’t mold and I am so glad they haven’t started blooming so far!
    Love this post, looking forward to the reports and the bean post that you are growing.
    We are planning to build a tree house in among the Sunflowers…not really…but they are so huge! I am tickled, because we have never been able to find a really good place to grow them on this shady hill, except the garden and Roy didn’t want to attract birds to the garden back then!
    Thanks Tipper,
    I heard too much rain is not good for the watermelon. Is that an old wives tale or not?

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I’m looking forward to those folks reports. It would be interesting to hear how they each report on the others’ beans – just to get different perspectives.
    Would Sow True Seeds like a test garden in Central Texas? Here we have three growing seasons: early spring for cool season vegetables (have to guard against frosts and late freezes), spring and fall. During the dog days of summer the plants mostly surrender into the ground or at the very least stop producing/growing. I’ll be doing indoor starts in early August to protect seedlings from the heat (unless we have a cooler than usual summer – which we have had so far this year – knock on wood.) Sometimes I put up a shade cloth for early starts if temperatures are only in the upper 90s and not the 110s. We’ll see what happens this year.
    Just rambling along.

  • Reply
    steve in Tn
    July 5, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I like the idea of open pollinated seeds and being able to preserve the old varieties. My Great Grandmother had seeds she kept for her special green beans for all of her life, or at least all of it that I was aware of. I will try to buy some from your sponsor for next year’s garden.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    July 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Sow True Seed provides a great resource for not only keeping the old varieties going but keeping them free of genetic modification. I follow them on Facebook and have mentioned them to others. Thanks so much for the bar of soap. I look forward to using it. I’ll be thinking of you and the soap maker every time!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 5, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Tipper–Ken was kind enough to save me some seeds of his Nantahala Runner Beans three years ago. After last year’s harvest and having already enjoyed some this year, I’d seriously suggest the True Seed folks might want to look into this variety.
    They certainly meet the heirloom standards inasmuch as they are growing from seeds which have been saved season after season for at least the better part of a century, according to Ken
    They pass the taste test in flying colors, and that’s true whether you are enjoying young, tender pods where the beans have just begun to form or what we always called “shelly beans” (where the bean is pretty much fully grown and in some cases you shell them out and discard the hull. I haven’t tried them from the leather britches standpoint, but I have no doubt they’d be passing tasty.
    They are incredibly prolific and I reckon they would run as high as you can put support (or reach), and as long as you keep ’em picked they keep on producing abundantly. I picked my last mess last year the afternoon before we had our first frost.
    If there is a downside they definitely require stringing.
    One final thought. How do you (and others) store the seed you save. I tend to rely on the freezer, but I’m not sure that it is a bit better than putting seeds in a sealed container and covering them with snuff (if you can find the powdered kind old ladies used to “dip” using a birch twig. Do others have storing tricks of the gardening trade?
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    July 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Sounds as if there will be a lot of interesting bean research going on this year. Good luck! I will be anxious to learn the results.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 5, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I’ve met Carol, from Sow True and I have to say you will not meet a nicer or more sincere woman. It may be generations before the world realized the gift that Sow True is giving us.
    I hope the bean trials goes well but here in WNC it has been so wet, everything is soggy.
    Sow True is certainly creative with their names!

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