The All-American Vegetable

For inexpensive, easy-to-grow nutrition, look no further than the humble bean.

By William Woys Weaver


Recommended Beans
Names of bean varieties, especially heirlooms, can be imprecise. The pole lima ‘Florida Speckled Butter’, for example, may be sold as ‘Florida Speckled’ or ‘Florida Butter Speckled’.

Bush Beans
‘Blue Lake’. Round green pods.
‘Cherokee’. Round yellow pods; earliest of yellow bush beans.
‘Contender’. Round green pods; earliest of green bush beans.
‘Dixie Butterpea Speckled’. Bush lima with speckled red seeds.
‘Dixie Butterpea White’. Bush lima with pure white beans.
‘Dragon Tongue’. Wax bean with purple-streaked flat pods.
‘Harvester’. Round green pods.
‘Henderson Bush’. An heirloom bush lima.
‘Provider’. Straight, round green pods; heavy producer.
‘Romano’ and ‘Romano Gold’. Flat green or yellow pods.
‘Royal Burgundy’. Round purple pods.

Pole Beans
‘Blue Lake Stringless’. Long, round green pods; sparse foliage allows for easier picking.
‘Christmas’. Large-seeded lima with red speckles and streaks.
‘Florida Speckled Butter’. Lima with black speckles on white seeds.
‘Fortex’. French-type green bean with long, narrow, round pods.
‘Kentucky Wonder’. Round green pods; an old favorite.
‘Kentucky Wonder Wax’. Heirloom variety with round yellow pods.
‘King of the Garden’. Lima bean with heavy-bearing vines. Freezes well.
‘Painted Lady’. Runner bean with colored red-and-white flowers; tan seeds with brown streaks. Attractive to hummingbirds.
‘Rattlesnake’. Round green pods with purple streaks.
Scarlet runner bean. Long, narrow, flat pods with black-and-purple mottled seeds. Red flowers are attractive to hummingbirds.
‘Vermont Cranberry’. Red speckled pods; white seeds with red flecks. Heirloom variety, used as a dry bean.
‘Willow Leaf’. Highly productive heirloom lima with small white seeds.