Bean Evaluation

I set out this summer to discover which bean would be the best bean for our family and our climate.  I tried beans last year and… well, it was pretty pathetic, so I decided to do this experiment.

I started with the following beans:

– dragon tongue bush beans

– blue lake bush beans

– red-seeded asparagus beans

– Missouri wonder pole beans

– Roma II bush beans

The results were interesting.


Dragon tongue bush beans:  These were in some of the worst soil.  It was a fail on my part.  With some amendments they recovered, but suffered pretty bad when the night time temps went into the mid-80s.  However, they produced fairly well.  The beans themselves are interesting.  Probably not my favorite for flavor, but not a bad bean.  Very edible.  We will definitely grow these again.

Blue lake bush beans:  I expected the blue lake bush beans to come out ahead.  The plants grew great, in fact they still look great.  Still only a hand full of beans.  😦  I’m not sure what it is about Arizona, or my soil, or my micro-climate… but these are a loser.  Not good.  Won’t waste my time, effort, and EXTENSIVE water again.

Red-seeded asparagus beans:  Weird name and a FUNKY bean.  Seriously these things look like dreadlocks when you harvest them.  Green dreadlocks at that.  Still… they produced VERY nicely and have a good flavor to them.  We figured out that it was not good to combine them with bacon because it made them come out very sweet.  Kinda weird like that.  The vines were pretty hardy but did not vine well and had to be assisted frequently, but I didn’t mind.  All in all, a good bean.  We will definitely grow these again.

Missouri wonder pole bean:  These plants grew fantastic.  The vines were hardy and lush and climbed very well.  ONE SMALL problem.  Not a SINGLE bean.  Complete waste of resources.  Fail.  No bien.  Won’t grow these again.

Roma II bush beans.  These do NOT like the heat.  The heat turned on and the beans just stopped forming.  More water did not help.  They struggled and then they were the only plants that just out right DIED.  Definitely not an AZ bean.  Won’t grow these again.

So next year it looks like we will be planting the really weird dragon tongue beans and the funky red-seeded asparagus beans.


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16 Responses to Bean Evaluation

  1. Buffy says:

    Interesting! I’ve never heard of these two. Maybe peas would grow better for you. Blue lake bush beans do great for us here in Arkansas.

  2. valbjerke says:

    I grow the dragons tongue here (in zone 3) – they produce well – as an aside, if you just leave them until they are dry, you’ve got yourself some nice storage beans.
    My best most prolific bean – Valentino Bush Beans. I plant them 3 to 4 inches apart in warm damp soil, try not to water til they sprout (only lightly if I have to), they hold each other up, provide their own shade, and the more you pick the more they keep producing. 😊

  3. L Lindall says:

    Reblogged this on The Homestead Experiment and commented:
    New scientific studies….love them

  4. nebraskadave says:

    Keith, some years are just not good for certain plants. I’ve noticed over the years that every year will be astounding for one kind of vegetable and not so good for another. Some times I’m not sure why that’s true. I just know it is. This year, I suspect because of the cool weather conditions, no one’s tomatoes here are not doing well no matter what kind they are but the potatoes look outstanding. The green peppers are okay but not producing really well but the onions and cabbage are great. Testing for one year may not really give a good indication as to which is the best for your area. It gives an indication what is best for your area for this year. My area has had such bizarre weather this year, I’m not even taking any data into account for future use.

    Have a great evaluation day.

    • That’s a good thought, Dave. Although, I think in general, with very few exceptions, the weather here is pretty predictable. This summer was hot, but never really ridiculously hot. We hit 114 but that was about the worst. We’ve had a normal kind of monsoon. If anything it has been dry this year in general, but again, that’s not abnormal for us. Truthfully we just don’t get the crazy temperature swings that the rest of the country gets. You pretty much know, 300 days a year it’s going to be sunshine and at least this time of the year, really hot.

      I have to say your theory does cause me to hold out a glimmer of hope for my corn. The thought that maybe there would be a good year, some year, any year… Ugh… corn.

  5. I’ve noticed the same thing with my blue lakes this year. Last year they were my most prolific bean but this year I have 8 foot tall plants but not a single bean yet. I wonder why this happens. We have had several days of 105°+ which made my great looking beans look pretty unhealthy. The drought doesn’t help either. Good luck next year with the beans!

    • 8 FOOT TALL BEAN PLANTS! I’m hoping these are pole beans… My blue lake bush beans are about 20 inches tall, which I thought was pretty good. I just don’t think they like the heat. They are beautiful plants. Thriving really. Just… no appreciable amount of beans. I like healthy plants, but I’m really after food. 🙂 Most of the things here do pretty good when the nights are still cool. In July though the temps never get below 85 or so at night. Plants just don’t seem to like that. Evidently nobody is a fan or 90 degrees at 9 at night.

      • Yes mine are Blue Lake Runner beans. Too bad I don’t have any beans to eat though. I am learning a lot from your blog about gardening in hot weather. I am new to this type of climate so your blog is really informative. Thank you!

      • I’m so glad it’s helpful. If nothing else I’m pretty good at demonstrating what NOT to do. Hahahaha…

  6. Sheri Fox says:

    I can recommend Scarlet Runners and White Half-Runners. It’s been hot here and we’re in severe drought but they are thriving! Scarlet runners are also beautiful and attract hummers and bees. Of course it’s all a crapshoot but I’m happy to share these seeds with you if you’d like to try them.

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