Fall color: beans.


All in all, I think we ended up with twelve bean varieties, though some didn’t do so well in the face of marauding deer.

We only grew a bit of each variety, just to see what works best in our garden’s mesoclimate (that’s the boy’s new favorite word, there).

The varieties:
bottom row, left to right
Jacob’s Cattle Beans, Hidatsa Red Beans, Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, Black Turtle Beans
middle “row”
Ireland Creek Annie Beans, Yellow Indian Woman Beans, Good Mother Stallard Beans
bread pan
October Beans
top row
Marfax Beans, Tiger Eye Beans
not pictured
True Red Cranberry Beans, Fagiolo Rampicante di Spagna a Grano Bianco (fat white italian/spanish runner beans)

So far, my favorites are the Italian white beans (so fat and meaty), the Tiger Eyes (so creamy), and the True Red Cranberries (so incredibly tasty). I have yet to taste them all, though.

The most productive varieties in our Zone 6, deer- and horseweed-challenged, southwest-facing clay were: Good Mother Stallard, October, Cherokee Trail of Tears, and Black Turtle.

Because we didn’t grow too many beans, we shelled them by hand. But that can be tedious. There are many creative ways to thresh beans. The National Gardening Association has some good basic instructions.


  1. Diane said,

    October 28, 2008 @ 10:36 am

    What a beautiful blog you have! Just love the bean photo too; we eat a lot of beans around here. Subscribed to you in my Google reader. Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Diane said,

    October 28, 2008 @ 10:36 am

    What a beautiful blog you have! Just love the bean photo too; we eat a lot of beans around here. Subscribed to you in my Google reader. Looking forward to reading more!

  3. GigiSehatBadanSehat said,

    October 31, 2008 @ 8:23 am

    i vote for your blog on bloggers choice award…
    success for you!

  4. Tracy said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

    The beans are beautiful and I love the picture! I look forward to browsing around your blog further!

  5. LB said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 9:28 am

    Nice to see you guys this weekend!

  6. Ottawa Gardener said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 9:12 am

    I grow Cherokee Trail of Tears and find they are indeed very productive and also great as snap beans and dry beans. I also love their shiny black seeds. My kids love helping me shell beans so again though we don’t grow tonnes of beans, it is a moderate amount (especially with the kidney, soy and soup peas) but I have my two smalled handed threshing machines so it’s okay. (PS – Ottawa Gardener does not advocate child labour unless the kids think it is fun).

  7. Caitlin said,

    November 7, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

    Hey there, y’all.
    We grew Scarlet Runner beans and tried not to pick any green ones (however, a certain tall person did pick some by mistake…) so that when we harvested them there were lots of big gorgeous pink-with-black-speckled beans. They remind me of Good N Plenty candies, but so much tastier. We cooked them up in chili and Peter couldn’t get over how delicious they were. It could be that any beans that you grow and eat relatively soon after harvest are incredibly delicious, so much more so than ones that have been dried and shipped. I’d like to put a smiley face here, but are not sure how to do it…

  8. Juli said,

    November 12, 2008 @ 9:50 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never seen this wonderful blog before. It’s a most excellent thing 🙂

  9. Granny Sue said,

    November 13, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

    It’s been years since I tried growing dried beans, but now I’m curious about trying it again. Especially October beans.
    Lovely photo.

    I haven’t stopped at your blog for a while. Now I need to catch up.

  10. Mandi said,

    November 14, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

    Just found your blog while searching for herbal salves. There was a link from another blog to yours. I spent TOO much time reading it and can’t wait to read more. I’m from WV also. Elkins, WV. Not to far, but lots of really curvey roads. I wish I lived a little closer, I would love to take a walk with you. I’m very interested learning more about identifing plants and using what is right under my feet.
    Thanks for the blog! I’ll be takin notes!

  11. my year without said,

    November 14, 2008 @ 11:35 pm

    That is a gorgeous picture.

    I love this time of year….making soups with beans and fall veggies….

    I recently ate some maple-sweetened navy beans in a “baked beans” recipe from a little vegan restaurant in Victoria. It was one of the most delicious foods I have eaten in a long time. Can’t wait to experiment with different beans!

  12. crabappleherbs said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    Caitlin — “Couldn’t get over how delicious they were” is a familiar reaction to fresh beans. Maybe next year he’ll leave them on the vine!

    LB — Nice to see you too!

    Ottawa Gardener — Kids love being useful. Beans are a great way to make that work for everyone!

    Granny Sue — Are October Beans as popular down in NC as they are up here? In this area, they’re the last really popular shelly bean — other than limas, of course.

    Mandi — I was born in Elkins! (Though we lived in Pocahontas County, Elkins had the closest hospital at the time.)

  13. Glenda said,

    December 7, 2008 @ 1:18 am

    I just received a dried bean sampler containing some of the beans you mentioned here: Jacob’s Cattle beans, Ireland Creek Annie beans, Good Mother Stallard beans, and October beans. Do you have a favorite way of preparing any or all of these beans??? Finding recipe ideas on the internet for heritage beans is a challenge!

  14. The Herbwife’s Kitchen » Spring supper, Appalachian style. said,

    April 14, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

    […] and cook your beans. (I used tiger eye beans from last year’s garden, but ramps are good with any brown or white beans.) Salt them well. […]

  15. jean said,

    July 5, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

    I love the names of the beans….God Mother Stallard beans,Ireland Creek Annie beans?I,m irish but I don,t know those ones.maybe you could make up your own name like herbwifes hilariously heavenly hardcore beans or to such an effect…I,m drying seeds and have decided to make up a well seasoned title tomorrow….and I really like your blog.

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