best pole beans

denise_7June 30, 2010

i live in zone 8. please give opinions as to the very best pole bean. i've been planting the white half-runner bean simply because that's what my parents used. don't really have a problem with it, but would just like more options. thanks!

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My favorite pole bean always was 'Fortex'. I was watching The Victory Garden the other day and they were showing pole beans and that is the one they were growing, too. I think I ordered it from Johnny's Seeds - I was working out of town and have done minimal vegetable gardening the past few years so I just put in bush beans this year. But I want Fortex again next year. :) Does anybody have a yellow pole bean they recommend?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 9:30AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Mine is Fortex, too.

It is a pole bean so has heavier production than bush beans. Each pod is eight inches long or longer, so each pod helps provide the heavy production. It is tender AND stringless even when very large.

For just good old snap bean eating, it seems to be the best one with all the best characteristics.

If you'll go to the bean forum, you'll find all kinds of bean recommendations, when to plant, fertilization, spacing, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: GW Forum, Beans, Peas, & Other Legumes

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 9:36AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Fortex. It is the most commonly recommended each time this question comes up here or on the Beans Forum.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:59AM
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dgbeig(SanFran -z10)

I have had luck with blue lake stringless and kentucky wonder.
This year I am doing a tri-colored pole bean packet from Renee's seeds. They have a yellow and purple pole (which i didn't think existed) so I will let you all know if and when they grow up and how they do.

I am trying a new pole bean this year called Aunt Ida's Pole Bean. Have any of you tried this one?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 12:47PM
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I just started growing pole beans a few years ago. So I'm still "getting my feet wet." I'm trying Fortex for the first time this year. So I can't speak for them yet. Varieties I've tried & liked: Kentucky Wonders (Japanese beetle magnet though,) Cherokee Trail of Tears & Rattlesnake Poles.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 1:08PM
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bluebirdie(Z8 SF E Bay)

I like the tenderness and taste of Blue Lake. Its drawback is being too tender for freezing.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 3:45PM
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Blue lake and kentucy wonder are two that are doing great for me. I have bush type and yardlongs
but they are not producing as much az BL and KW. Having heard so much about FORTEX,
I will try that next year. I also have purple hyacinth. Although it produces lots of beens(purple flat like snow peas, less than 2" long)but I mainly like them for their beauty and flowers.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 9:09PM
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Regarding the earlier question about a yellow pole bean: a variety I've seen in garden center racks and some seed catalogs is "Meraviglia di Venezia" a.k.a. Marvel of Venice. I haven't tried it myself though.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 9:37AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I am on a quest for a delicious bean too. I intend to try Fortext next year. THIS year, I am growing Kentucky Wonder for the first time and my so-far favorite Louisiana Purple Pole. The LPP is positively delicious and a beautiful plant too. BUT, in the high heat of our summer, it stops producing. I think the blooms fall off. The Kentucky Wonder is still producing heavily, but, in my opinion, it is not as tasty as the LPP. Still, pretty good beans through the summer are better than none at all.

Anybody grow Fortex in the Deep South? Can you comment on how it does in our heat?

Also, does anyone know of a delicious BUSH bean? I tried Jade and Dragons Tongue this year. Pulled them up and composted the Jades. DT wasn't much better, but I did like the texture.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:20PM
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anney(Georgia 8)


All beans will decrease production in high heat -- the blossoms drop off the plants. It's been awfully hot and humid here, and Fortex production HAS slowed lately, though I see a fresh spate of them I need to pick.

Mine started out gorgeous and really productive, and then the dratted Japanese beetles invaded them. I kept them picked off as much as I could, but they certainly can make your bean leaves look ragged and holey. At any rate, I'm going to keep them going, keep them picked as needed, watered, and see if production picks back up in the cooler weather as it's reputed to do. I was able to freeze about a half-year's worth of meals with what I've already picked and hope to get another half-year's worth later on.

OTOH, limas and cowpeas LOVE the heat and humidity, in my experience. I have those growing, too, so maybe with them, the Fortexes, and the Italian green pole beans, we'll have a nice freezer full of beans.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:38PM
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Best pole bean - Emerite. Just an opinion, but I think Fortex is overrated. Lots of hype, little taste.
My taste buds, however, have been around for an awfully long time.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 9:30PM
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gardningscomplicated(southeast michigan - 5b or 6?)

I'm trying kentucky wonder for the 2nd time this year. Along with some scarlett runner beans, and a couple asparagus beans. Last year didn't work so well, since they were supposed to climb up my corn stalks, but they pulled them over instead. Anyway, after reading this thread I just had to try some Fortex. I don't like the name, but I read about them, and was sold. Apparently they don't get those strings, even if you pick them late. And I'm always late with everything. So I ordered some seeds today. I may not get very many, since I'm getting a late start. But at least I'll know if I like them for next year.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:02PM
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Italian Romano Pole Beans can be excellent, and offer a taste and texture that is different from the standard beans.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 12:06AM
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The Fortex is my favorite also. You can eat them raw right off the vine.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 1:16AM
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Do any of the standard garden store seed companies offer Fortex? Or do you have to order it?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 12:04PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

I couldn't find Fortex anywhere, so I ordered it online from Vermont Bean Seed Co. It was an impulse buy after reading all the raves on the Beans & Peas Forum, and I ended up paying a ridiculous amount of postage for one packet of seeds. But I got the Fortex, and planted it along with Kentucky Wonder, which has been my favorite bean for years and years. I love the taste of KW (and I eat them raw off the vine, too).

Planted later than usual this year, the bean plants are still small. But I have to say the Fortex plants look spindly compared with the Kentucky Wonders. This may change, of course, but right now they look like the underdog.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 6:24PM
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Another good one is Meralda which is a flat type bean but very tender. You can get that one from Renee's Seeds. I believe I ordered Fortex from Johnny's seeds. I don't know that I have seen them in the stores.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fortex

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 8:07PM
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tomva(7-central virginia)

Pinto snaps from parchman/lockwood,these are the best tasting Ive ever had,I think imho pinto snaps are more flavorful..

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 8:43PM
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This year I'm mostly going with Painted Lady Runner Beans... they were delicious, prolific, huge, and froze really well. They also attract lots of bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds, and are so pretty!

Also planted Trionfo Violetto again. Yields were a bit low last year, but they were in a shady spot. Gorgeous purple-leaved plants with lavender flowers (yes, I like a pretty garden as well a tasty one) and delicious, tender beans.

I grew Fortex last year and liked it, although I think Trionfo Violetto he (optional):

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