Certain varieties of green beans (like these heirlooms) are more American than apple pie and were grown in American soil long before Johnny Appleseed made his way cross-country planting apple seeds. Heirloom green beans have unique flavors and bean colors that bear little resemblance to the retail canned variety on the grocer’s shelves. Some are stringless, some produce black beans neatly tucked inside green pods and some can grow beans that are a foot long and all are easy to grow in your home garden. Till up a garden spot (or set aside a patch( just for growing some of these 7 varieties of heirloom green beans.
Lazy Wife Green Beans
The Lazy Wife green bean derived its name in the 19 th century from being a stringless variety that requires no preparation before cooking. Perfect for the ‘lazy wife’. This heirloom variety bears 6 inch green pods filled with white beans late in the season. Plant these along with an early producer so you’ll have fresh garden beans all season.
Cherokee Trail of Tears
This heirloom green bean variety is a vigorously growing pole bean that produces 6 inch purple-streaked pods. When ripe, the pods turn completely purple and the beans inside are black. Delicious flavor, unique to grow and look at, just be prepared to stake the fast-growing vines. This heirloom green bean was purportedly carried by the Cherokee Indians as the walked from the Carolinas to Oklahoma in the early 1800’s on what is now called the Trail of Tears.
An early producer that keeps up production for several weeks during the summer. Black Valentine bears long green pods filled with black beans and borne on vigorously growing bushes. Plant Black Valentines every two weeks at the beginning of the planting season to extend the harvest. Pick bean while they’re young or the pods will quickly become tough, resulting in more shelly beans than green beans.
Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
Borne on vigorously growing vines, Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans bear bean pods that can reach 12 inches in length. The bean pods grow in bunches on the vines, making them easy to harvest. Kentucky Wonders ripen in about 60 days and will produce all season, just be prepared to provide the vines with trellis or some other type of support.
A rare heirloom variety that dates back to the early 1800’s. Small green pods born on small bushes hold mottled red bean inside. The bean pods are stringy, but have a delicious and unique flavor. Red Valentines are easy to grow and take up little garden space, so plant a few bushes just to give these unusual heirloom green beans a try.
Burpee’s Stringless Green Pods
Introduced to gardener’s just before the turn of the last century, Burpee’s Stringless Greens Pods have no strings and are still produced by the Burpee Seed Company. The stringless green pods are filled with large brown beans and the beans are easy to pick since they grow towards the top of the plants.
The name of this heirloom green bean describes its prolific production during the growing season. Bountiful is a heavy-producing bush bean and great taste which has kept it popular and readily available from the late 1800’s until now. Bountiful plants are large and topple over easily during times of heavy rain and winds, so some support may be needed, even though they are a bush bean variety.
Ever Wilde Farms