Our donor's father inherited these beans in the 1970s from a previous gardener at his place of work. Several Guardians have commented on the drought tolerance of this variety. The crisp, flavoursome pods do not get stringy, even when mature, so the cropping period is longer than for most French beans. When dried the dark brown beans with cream speckles are really tasty too.
Originally from Poland, though acquired by our donor at a Belgian seed swap. Lilac flowers are followed by slender, 'snake-like' pods, bright green streaked with black. Matures quickly; use fresh, rather than as dried beans, as the pods are tasty and stringless. Seed Guardian Ann Rutter was suitably impressed, she says, “They wouldn't look amiss in the flower garden.”
Thought to be of Polish origin, this bicoloured bean was given to a friend of our donor, HSL volunteer Rob Croft, who passed some on to us. Grown since around 1960 on the allotments in Broughton Astley, Leicestershire, and before that at Wigston Lane Allotments, Aylestone, Leicestershire. It produces tall plants (>2m) with purple flowers followed by purple and green mottled, stringless pods with a great flavour. Seed Guardian Ms Della Cannings QPM says that they are a “superb performer. From a small number of seeds we had a huge crop”.
This tall variety (>2m) produces yellow-green foliage and creamish-white flowers. The pods are green when they first set, but become red and white as the seeds inside start to form. The young beans are delicious when eaten fresh and the mottled, dried seeds have a lovely rich and creamy 'butter bean' flavour.
Bred at Prosser, Washington State, USA for the USDA, this variety was developed for its disease resistance. Its popularity was limited as its dark purple, almost black, beans were too plump and large for canning, despite having a lovely rich, beany flavour. Produces strong and prolific plants which may require some support.
Our donor has grown this ex-commercial bean for at least 30 years and originally obtained the seeds from Ryder’s of St Albans just before the firm was sold on in the 1970s, when all of its varieties were discontinued. Produces tall vines (up to 2.5m) and white flowers followed by flat, green pods. The 1970 Ryder’s seed catalogue describes it as “a heavy bearer, absolutely stringless and of delicious flavour, may be sliced or cooked whole.”
Produces tall, vigorous vines (>2.5m) with dark green, almost black, foliage. The leaves contrast beautifully with the green pods that harbour big, white seeds. The seeds are most curious, as each is marked with a solitary saint-like figure dressed in monk robes. Vigorous and hardy, the young beans are lovely eaten fresh and they freeze well, retaining their rich flavour. Can also be used dried.
One of the many varieties donated by Harlow Carr Botanic Gardens. Roughly translated the name means broad or wide-podded. Large white seeds produce compact plants, though these will require some staking. White flowers are followed by broad, flat pods produced in profusion. Best eaten as a young green bean; string free and delicious. One of the earliest varieties to mature and also shows some frost tolerance.
A rarity! It is claimed that these beans can be found only in 'one hollow' in Right Beaver Creek, Knott County, Kentucky. Growing to 1.2-1.5m in height, the pale apricot flowers are followed by flat, green pods which are tender and tasty when young. Let us know what you think of this one.
This American heirloom is unusual in that the very deep-purple/black seeds are almost shaped like a kernel of corn. The lilac flowers are followed by green pods each containing around six beans. Primarily a drying bean, perfect for use in the Native American dish consisting of corn, beans and peppers - hence its name. A late bean that appears to perform better for our growers in the South of England, possibly due to the warmer temperatures and longer growing season.