Earlier this Summer I told you about the Blind Pig & The Acorn Bean Project sponsored by Sow True Seed. If you missed it or have forgotten-here is the gist of the project:
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 kept track of the following attributes:
- early growth
- bean vine
- growth throughout the season
- and perhaps most important-taste
I haven't received the final results from all of the Blind Pig & the Acorn @ Large Bean Reporters yet, but below, you can see the results from the Bean Varieties I tested.
Lima Bean King of the Garden Pole proved true to it's name in the sense that the beans reached the top of the bean teepee. But the vines didn't produce one bean.
I planted the Black Kabouli Garbanzo Beans 3 times-with no success of any sprouting.
Mary's Pole Beans acted more like a bush bean. The leaves look shriveled and crinkly from the beginning and the vines never did climb the poles we had erected for them. Mary's Pole Bean did produce-but not much. We got about a handful of beans from each teepee.
The Succotash Beans started out looking good but trickled back to nothing before summer was over and didn't produce one bean.
The most interesting bean I tried for Sow True Seed was the Asparagus Bean. The beans grow up to 2ft long! The Asparagus beans were fabulous producers. When I first seen those long beans I thought how in the world will I cook them? They don't really have much of a string-so that wasn't a big issue. I cut the beans in pieces and steamed them. The Asparagus Beans have a great taste and the plants seemed to be immune to the bugs.
The Lima Henderson Bush Beans looked very healthy and full all summer. And they produced bean pods-but somehow the actual bean inside never fully matured. The pods stayed flat until they finally begin to turn brown and brittle.
Sow True Seed's Bush Bean Romano #14 was a fantastic producer for us. The beans are long and flat looking and very tasty.
I steamed the Romano beans and added nothing more than salt and pepper. The beans have a great taste and texture and even the picky eaters in the Blind Pig house like them.
Sow True Seed also has a pole variety of Romano beans-we tested them out too. They didn't seem to be as prolific as the bush variety-although they looked the same-and were equally as tasty.
We typically grow white half runners. For the last 2 years we've grown a variety handed down through a local family for generations. The beans are supplied to us by Kenneth Roper (THANK YOU KENNETH). We plant the majority of our beans in Pap's big garden. Sadly this year-the big garden was swamped by all the rain and was almost a total loss.
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 have to trellis. So I was anxious to see how Sow True Seed's Mountaineer Half Runner Bush Bean compared. Sow True Seed's Mountaineer Half Runner Bush Bean was a good producer. The beans were pretty with not many spots-and very tasty. I do think the plants could have benefited from some sort of support though.
And last on my list is the Doyce Chambers Greasy Cut-short Pole Beans. These beans started off great-climbing quickly to the top of the their bean teepees but they seem to fall behind as summer progressed and didn't produce as many beans as I had hoped. The beans were full and tasty.
I'm positive the bean varieties that didn't perform well, suffered from our rainy summer. Cherokee County is close to 17 inches above normal rainfall levels.
I did have one more variety to test-Fava Beans. I planted them about 2 weeks ago-I'll let you know how they grow. And I'll share the results from the Blind Pig & the Acorn @ Large Bean Reporters when I get them.
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.