Appalachia Gardening

The Sow True Bean Project

Sow true bean project

A few weeks ago, I shared the news about the Sow True Seed Bean Project and detailed the bloggers who are participating in the project. Today I’d like to tell you about my bean varieties and the way they’re growing so far.

Bean trellis

We usually trellis our beans the way Pap taught us, but since we were going to be planting several new varieties, we decided to go for the tepee form of trellising.

The Deer Hunter and I tromped through the woods and found all the small saplings we needed for our teepees. He grabbed a ball of twine and then we were ready to go.

The bean varieties I’m trying out for the project:

Sow true seed lima bean pole

Lima Bean King of the Garden Pole are proving true to their name-they have long since reached the top of their trellis-but no bean so far.

Black Kabouli Beans Sow True Seed

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

Sow true seed marys pole bean

Mary’s Pole Beans are acting more like a bush bean. Actually more like a sickly bush bean. The leaves look kind of shriveled and the plants seem to be stunted. Maybe it’s just taking them a while to catch on.

Sow true seed succotash beans

The Succotash Beans look good but no blooms as of yet.Asparagus Bean

One of the most interesting sounding beans I’m trying for Sow True Seed is the Asparagus Bean. The beans are supposed to grow up to 2ft long! So far the vine is very vigorous but I haven’t seen any beans yet.Sow true seed lima bush henderson bean

The Lima Henderson Bush Beans are looking really good and are in bloom so it shouldn’t be too long before we get to try them.

Sow true seed romano bush bean

Sow True Seed’s Bush Bean Romano #14 is the first variety that has produced for us. The beans are long and flat looking. When I was picking them I thought now how could something this flat compare with white half runners or peanut beans? But we found out they are a very tasty bean.

Sow true seed romano beans

I steamed the Romano beans and added nothing more than salt and pepper. The beans have a grat taste and texture-and best of all the whole family liked them.


Sow True Seed also has a pole variety of Romano beans. They are growing like crazy-and I’m hoping the beans tastes exactly like the bush variety.

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 several decades. The beans are supplied to us by Kenneth Roper (THANK YOU KENNETH).

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 had to trellis. So I’m anxious to see how Sow True Seed’s Mountaineer Half Runner Bush Bean does for us.

Doyce Chambers Sow True Seed Greasy Cut Shorts

And last on my list are the Doyce Chambers Greasy Cut-short Pole Beans. These beans are looking great and I can’t wait to taste them just because it seems like I ought to know someone named Doyce Chambers.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of my bean project as well as the other participants as the growing season moves on.


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    wonder if it’s all the rain we’ve had this year in NC which have affected the beans which are delayed or aren’t doing well?
    Bro Tom planted green beans in pots cause we can’t trust what the farmer neighbors spray their fields with; well…we only got one solitary bean. LOL And I think it’s cause of the rain (and therefore, less sun) too.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I love Romano pole beans, too – they have such a meaty, solid quality, but they never seem tough or stringy. I’m looking forward to seeing your asparagus beans!
    Been keeping close track of my Lazy beans, and taking pictures. No blossoms yet, but maybe I should post a mid-summer progress report soon.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Everything in my garden is doing just fine except my white runners. I think too much rain and no sunshine about a month ago did ’em in. I planted them at the lower end of my garden where water just saturated
    for days. Maybe I’ve got enough
    left from last year’s canning.
    I wondered if anyone else had this
    kind of trouble this year.
    Thanks for the reporting on Sow
    True Seeds event…Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Well Tipper, that’s a lot of varieties of beans! Sadly, we have had so much rain this year that it may not be the best test time..
    I do think that if you manage the beans the way you have your tomatoes the best ones will get a place in your garden on going through the years and the remainder will disappear. You and the Deer Hunter have got the tomato business down to fine art….meaning you grow goooood tomatoes and I’m sure you’ll do the same with the beans.
    It sure was nice to have you and the girls here for the weekend! We did a fine lot of shopping in a short time!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    July 29, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Well, that is a whole lot of different beans – to say the least. I you were to find someone named Doyce do you think that person would be a fellow or a lady?
    Your detailed effort goes far beyond my been planting experience. Good luck! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    July 29, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I have not tried to grow any beans and to be honest I never paid attention to the amount of varieties there seem to be available. Perhaps, next year I will try a bean plant. It looks like there are a lot to choose from. My pepper plants are doing great so far. I think the lack of sun and the amount of rain may have affected the ones that are not doing well for you.

  • Reply
    Pam Moore
    July 29, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I’ve noticed that with our increasingly hotter and wetter weather in the past few years that southeast asian varieties do much better in my Florida garden. They have been selected for generations for their resistance to heat, insects and humidity.
    With our backwards gardening, we won’t even be starting our garden until the beginning of September.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Good info – I’m looking forward to your next report.
    Has your rainy weather slowed things down?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

    As I speak Roy is down in the garden picking our Roma beans, we have had one good mess already. I wonder if “my Roma is your Romano”? They are an Italian flat green bean with round white beans inside! You just snap the ends off and they are practically stringless. I love that! They have a great taste. We love them!
    These are a bush variety!
    Our Kentucky Wonders are getting ready as well as our Blue Lake
    Pole beans…We didn’t plant but a couple of large teepees of those in the raised beds..The teepees have six poles and straight poles across to each other stablizing the teepees. We do ours out of canes.
    I wonder if the rain affected your garbanzo beans…I think it wouldn’t take much for them to rot in the ground. Seems like they would like a dry weather growth…Don’t know but since they are usually a round bean full of moisture already it makes sense to me. I would think a dry spell and then soak the bean before planting would increase the sprouting. What do I know? I’m just guessing!
    Guess I’ll be cooking beans today!
    Thanks Tipper, Good luck with your bean varieties…I would have loved to been in the test this year but let it slip away from me…The things we planted here on the sign are doing fairly well. The transplants, tomatoes that had to get in the ground, reguardless of the right sign due to the extreme wet/barely/cool conditions are finally catching up. We are having a little blossom end rot due to the excess rain but not too bad considering!
    PS…we save our cane poles from year to year, but it is time to replace them now. Over in the lower forty my husband planted some cane, just for poles and for the artist in me, but they are just now starting to grow…You have to watch cane, it will take off! So plant it where you don’t want an invasion!

  • Reply
    July 29, 2013 at 9:11 am

    No pictures to share of my expensive heirloom White Half Runners that grew for a month in my garden. I ordered the seeds and had to plant them four times. When the last planting started to bloom, I wanted to camp out close by with a shotgun. Wish I had! I guess my little patch of beans were tastier than the acres of soybeans the deer chomp on 24/7.

  • Reply
    Tommy Lee Stokes
    July 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Hey Tipper, I think it might be all of the rain we’ve had that is affecting our bean growth. I grow Sow True Seed beans every year and they always do extremely well, except for this year. The Greasy, WNC Market pole beans germinated well, but have been slow growing — with a somewhat thinned-out, on-the-verge-of-sickly look to them. The Yard Long, Red Seeded, Asparagus bean was very stubborn when it game to germinating; it took me 3 planting attempts to only get about a fourth of what I had hoped for. However, the plants that did come up are doing well and already have huge beans on them. One thing I have noticed about these beans is that for some reason the Japanese beetles and Mexican bean beetles won’t touch them, which is a definite plus! It’s been a few years, but I had tremendous success with the Royalty Purple Pod bush beans — immensely productive and extremely tasty. Good luck with your bean project and thanks for keeping us posted!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    July 29, 2013 at 7:25 am

    We are big fans of white half runners. They are a very tender and tasty green bean.
    Good luck with the other varieties.

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