Cool beans.


Okay, it’s that super sweet time of the year…I’ve got all the seed catalogues open at the ready and I’m wanting to order some “new-to-me” varieties of beans. (I’m a total newbie bean grower – scarlet runners are the extent of my experience.  They are so fun I’ve decided beans are totally my thing and I must. grow. more.). Before I make a decision, I thought I’d do a little brain-picking: what bean varieties have you grown and loved and would recommend to me?  Pole/climbing beans only, please (I don’t have room for bush beans). I’m looking forward to hearing about your favourites!

29 thoughts on “Cool beans.

  1. The flowers on scarlet runner beans look pretty on a salad or just as a garnish. I grew mainly bush beans but especially enjoyed the petite haricots verte (I know – not a pole bean). A few plants do not take up much room – I grew them in my raised bed and they produced profusely because you’re picking them when they are pencil thin.

    • One of my neighbours at the community garden grew those sweet little green bush beans last year – like you, he did quite well with them and for some reason the deer didn’t go after them like they did my scarlet runners. I want to grow pole beans on my balcony this summer – I have the vertical space but not the horizontal. Maybe I ought to try bush beans in the community garden if the deer are so particular in their tastes. I’ve never had issues with deer before moving here, so it will be a learning process. 🙂

      • I forgot how limited your space was. Deer will eat anything if they are hungry. Until we put up a higher fence the deer use to go along and top off all the bush bean plants – then of course they would not grow any more 🙂 Scarlet runner beans use to be a favorite!

        • Yes, you’re right that deer will eat anything if they are hungry – there really aren’t any truly “deer resistant” plants out there! It’s so new for me to have to worry about deer so this will be a learning experience. 🙂

  2. Kentucky Wonder! It was the first one I grew when I was a kid. I kept growing it because I happened to have fences around the garden where I lived in town. They grew on a string trellis on the fence! I liked utilizing the fence space, and I hated the fence anyway. I have not grown bush beans because there are plenty of other things that can use the space for bushy plants, and only a few things to grow on a fence. I suppose I should try something more interesting, but when I do, I am not impressed. Scarlet runner beans were pretty for covering things, but not productive. Hyacinth bean is weirdly interesting, but there are so many better beans to grow.

  3. I was also popping in to say Kentucky Wonder. This open pollinated (heirloom) bean is extremely robust and grow HUGE beans in massive quantities! These are a green eating bean, not a drying bean. Pick them smaller for a nice, soft sweeter green bean, or let them get bigger for a slightly meatier bean that would do well in soups. They love their sun but I have had them tolerate part shade even up north where I live. They will spiral out of control with growth if you have things too close to them. I have had them trellis themselves across a 1 foot gap to start growing into the trees because there was a branch that was too close. Other than keeping an eye on where they are growing (and desperately trying to keep up with their production) they need little maintenance. I have even had them make full comebacks when eaten down soon after sprouting. Like most beans, seed saving is a breeze. Plant a few square feet of them, you won’t be disappointed.

    • Thanks so much, they look perfect for me! A gardener on a local Facebook group also recommended them…I found them in a catalogue and bookmarked them as “must-haves.” I am going to try a new kind (or two) every year, I’ve decided. I am so happy for your recommendation!

  4. I have been thinking about growing bean in the front garden; up the trellis, rather than sweet peas. I love sweet peas, they smell so lovely, but the can’t eat them, and I would love to make my garden more productive, rather than just pretty! So I look forward to your further comments, and ideas. Learning vicariously!

    • I agree with you, Janice…I’ve been trying to convert to more edibles as well…I like the fact that most of these beans have exquisitely beautiful flowers as well and then you get the reward of the beans. Seems pretty perfect. 🙂 But I am still going to grow a few sweet peas, I can’t get enough of their fragrance. They make me smile.

  5. I have no idea if you can get these in Canada or if they will grow in your climate but I love the runner beans called ‘Celebration’.
    Most seed companies here do them (not just Thompson and Morgan). The flowers are a such a pretty peach colour (a much stronger colour that the photo in the link) the flowers set to seed quickly and the beans can be harvested quite early and continue until the first frosts! They taste gorgeous even when left a little too long on the plant by mistake! I wouldn’t be without them!

  6. I have loved ‘Purple Peacock’ for pole beans and ‘Dragon Tongue’ bush beans. Both I have grown in containers; although the ‘Purple Peacock’ will get much taller if allowed to grow in soil (which I’ve also done). Both are highly prolific and can take our up and down summer weather. You can find them at West Coast seeds. : )

    • Wonderful recommendations – thanks so much, Barbara! I saw them in the West Coast Seeds catalogue this year and wondered about them. Going to give them a try, for sure – it’s great to learn about the experiences of someone growing them locally! I hope you’re having a wonderful start to the week – so lovely to see that bright sunshine!

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