Beans, Peas and other Pulse Crops
– VENTURE is my earliest green bean. It is a Blue Lake type with long slim pods and yields well. BLACK VALENTINE is an heirloom variety dating back to around 1850. The slightly sprawling plants give a heavy yield of long pods. FLORENCE is quite early, has extra slim pods and good flavour. GREENCROP (AAS 1957) is a few days later with long (8") flat pods. MR FEARN’S has been grown in England for most of the past century. The plants are sprawling with short runners and the seeds are black. BLUE BLOOM is an old strain from the Tennessee Hills. The small flat seeds are pale with dark spots and streaks. E-Z PICK has pods which are easy to detach from the plant. REMUS is easy to pick as its pods are held somewhat above the leaves. JADE is a mid-season variety with long slim intense green pods that hold well on the plant. Our main crop is BLUE LAKE, a heavy yielder with beans that remain tender and stringless for a long time.
ADMIRES is a European frenching bean with long flat inch-wide pods, and large white seeds. JUMBO is a long variety with extra wide pods. Its seeds look like large pintos and could be used as dry beans. BLUE JAY, apparently an out-cross of Comtesse de Chambord (see Filet Beans), is a fairly early producer of flat green pods streaked with purple, and is known for its sweet flavour. Seeds are blue-black streaked with tan with about a third of the seeds tan with dark streaks. Thanks to Shirley Bellows for sharing this seed with me.
RED SWAN has flat 5” pods and plump tan seeds which would probably be good as a dry bean. The pod colour is new for me; I would describe it as old rose, which I as-sume turns to green during cooking. Bred by Robert Lobitz (1941-2006) from Minneso-ta; a selection from a cross between a purple snap bean and a pinto.
I am offering three varieties of purple beans. They all have round slim pods that turn
green when cooked, and are early to mid-season in maturity. ROYALTY (1957), bred at U. of New Hampshire by Elwyn Meader, is the earliest and lowest yielding. PURPLE QUEEN is the variety I have been growing the longest. PURPLE TEEPEE is the latest and heaviest yielding, and holds its pods somewhat above the leaves.
50 grams @ $3.00 (except Blue Bloom 25g @ $3.00)
- These are French green beans that are generally early producers. They are usually picked when the pods are very slim. Older varieties develop strings fairly rapidly but newer varieties tend to be stringless. All have dark seeds except Tavera. TRIUMPH DE FARCY is the standard French variety, very early with long slim pods heavily streaked with purple. FIN DE BAGNOLS is a traditional long podded varie-ty. The pods of DEUIL FIN PRECOCE are long and large and heavily streaked with pur-ple. The large seeds are buff speckled with purple.
The following varieties can be picked at full size and are still stringless. DELINEL is a modern black seeded variety that yields well. ARAMIS produces a good yield of medi-um length slim pods. TAVERA has very short plants and pods, and small white seeds. COMTESSE DE CHAMBORD is a French bean from the early 1800’s and one of the par-ents of Blue Jay. It produces a heavy yield of short (4”) slim pods, and has small white to pale green seeds.
50 grams @ $3.00 (except Tavera & Comtesse de Chambord 25g @ $3.00)
– KEYGOLD, our earliest variety, has short plants covered with straight slender round pods. ROCDOR is also early with long pods and black seeds. MAJOR is an early short variety which produces a heavy yield of slim pods. It is probably French in origin.
GOLDEN ROD is a mid-season good yielding variety. INDY GOLD is a modern midsea-son bean with round yellow pods with small green tips. PENCIL POD BLACK WAX was introduced in 1900 and is still popular. BRITTLE WAX (1901) has pale golden pods and
white seeds with a black figure around the hilum.
You might call DRAGON TONGUE a wax horticultural bean as the flat yellow pods are streaked with purple. The pinto-like seeds are also fine eating either fresh or dried.
50 grams @ $3.00
– In general, pole beans are later than bush beans but have larger pods. They should be given poles, string, or a fence to climb on and usually will climb about 8 feet.
NORTHEASTER gives a heavy yield of very long flat green beans and is early for a pole bean. PURPLE POLE BEAN has wide flat pods that turn green when cooked, and tan seeds. BLAUHILDE gives a heavy yield of long, fleshy, round to oval purple pods. GOLDMARIE is a wonderful wax bean similar to Northeaster. It has long flat yellow pods, is a heavy yielder, and is perhaps slightly earlier than Northeaster. RATTLE-SNAKE is a good producer of long pods streaked with purple. Pick fairly young as the pods form strings. Seeds are tan with purple markings. GRANDMA NELLIE'S was brought from Russia to Western Canada early in the 20th century. The edible pods are flat and the flat seeds are dark brown.
OREGON GIANT has very long thick somewhat irregular flattened pods, streaked with purple. It is quite early and a good yielder which needs to be picked promptly as it develops strings. Seeds are large, kidney shaped, tan with purple markings. This ap-proximately 100 year old bean is still very popular on the west coast. CASCADE GIANT (1990) was developed by Dr. James Baggett from a cross between Oregon Giant and Oregon Trail (a bush Blue Lake type). It has longer round pods, smaller seeds and is stringless.
The following beans are used for fresh or dry shelling. STELLA is quite early, and has flat green pods and pale buff seeds. SNOWCAP has large flat pods and large somewhat flattened seeds. It has very pretty seed with markings similar to Mostoller Wild Goose. AUNT JEAN’S BEAN is a beautiful half-red and half-white bean that is almost round. Try it as a dry bean. ODAWA SOUP is a tall, heavy yielding bean that has been grown by Native Americans. The pods are broad, and the seeds are large and oval, half white, half pinto coloured. McCORMICK'S WONDER gives a good yield of flat almost square pinkish tan seeds with pinto markings. TRUE RED CRANBERRY is a traditional New Eng-land variety with dark red, almost round seeds that are used as a dry bean.
25g @ $3.00
- (Phaseolus coccineus) Runner beans have large showy flowers, usually red or white, and will cross with each other (but not with other beans), so many of mine are not 100% pure. The plants have runners from 4' or 5' long to twice that length. They like a lot of water and should be given something to climb on. The pods are long and plump, and rough textured. The oval seeds are very large and plump. Eat as a snap bean, or a fresh or dry shell bean.
WHITE HALF RUNNER is one of the shorter and earlier varieties, and is white seeded.
SCARLET EMPEROR (1906) is an early red-flowered variety with black and pink seeds. PAINTED LADY (1827 or earlier) has bi-coloured red and white flowers, and brown and tan seeds.
Bush runner beans are somewhat earlier and lower yielding than the climbing varieties. DWARF BEES has compact plants and numerous bright red flowers, making it a won-derfully decorative edible plant. PICKWICK DWARF RUNNER has short runners and red flowers.
Packet (about 25 seeds) @ $3.00
- These beans (also called cranberry beans) are often grown as fresh shell beans but they can also be used as snap or dry beans. The pods are usually streaked with purple or red, and the seeds have markings similar to those of the pods. TONGUE OF FIRE is a dwarf early variety whose buff seeds are streaked with red. WHITE HORTICULTURAL has pods streaked with purple but the large, almost round seeds are white. The plants have short runners. VERMONT CRANBERRY has oval red seeds marked with purple. CANDY has large pink kidney-shaped seeds marked with red. SCARLET BEAUTY has large dark red kidney shaped beans mottled with lighter red. FRENCH HORTICULTURAL likes to climb but seems to do well sprawling on the ground. The large, almost round seeds are an attractive buff splashed with purple.
50g @ $3.00
- Broad or Fava beans (Vicia faba) are Mediterranean in origin and so were the only beans grown in Europe until European contact with the Americas. They are now grown worldwide but are not especially well known in North America. By se-lecting the seed you save you might develop your own variety of Fava, especially suit-ed to your growing conditions. Unlike common beans which are largely self fertile, broad beans cross easily and must be isolated if you want to save pure seed.
The large green seeds of BROAD WINDSOR (early 1700's) can be eaten fresh, or frozen or picked as dry seed. Like peas, they should be seeded as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. GREEN WINDSOR (early 1800’s) has seeds which retain their bright green colour both fresh and dried. JUBILEE HYSOR is listed as an improved Windsor bean with tall plants and 6-8 seeds per pod. MASTERPIECE GREEN LONGPOD (1894) is a tall cultivar (to about 3’) with long pods of green seeds. BUNYARDS EXHI-BITION (1845) is a tall, heavy yielding variety with long pods and white seeds. THREE-FOLD WHITE (late 1800's) is white-flowered with white seeds which do not darken with cooking. The pods are long and slim and the seeds smaller than those of Broad Wind-sor. CON AMORE is an Italian cultivar which is a good yielder and mid-season in ma-turity. The pods are in clusters and give 3 to 5 seeds per pod. POLAR is a short early variety. Pods are slim and the medium-sized seeds are white.
Broad Windsor: 50g @ $3.00, 125g @ $5.00, 500g @ $11.00
Other varieties: 50g @ $3.00
THE SUTTON is an English variety from around 1950. The plants are short (about 2') and early with medium-sized blond seeds. The young pods can also be eaten like snap beans. SWISS has broad pods usually containing 4 to 5 large blond seeds. CAMBRIDGE SCARLET (1778) has red flowers and bright green seeds, small to medium in size. AZ-TEC YELLOW is an early producer of short pods containing one to three large seeds. The seed coats are light yellow and the seeds are yellow right through. RED EPICURE has chestnut red seeds and claims to taste somewhat like chestnuts. COPPER FAVA is late maturing with medium-sized deep copper seeds. Pods are upright with 1 to 3 seeds, in bunches of 2 to 4. MB5 RED is a good producer of small to medium dusky red seeds. BLACK FAVA has solid black navy bean sized seeds. The short upright pods are borne in clusters on medium height plants. BELL is a small seeded fava that is fall seeded for a cover crop in areas where the winters are mild. Cook the seeds fresh or dried. ORION is a field fava bred by Agriculture Canada from an initial cross in 1975. This is a short, very early, cultivar with small round to oblong seeds. COFFEE BEAN was sent to me from the Prince Albert area with the information that the small seeds were roasted and used as a coffee substitute. Seeds are tan heavily mottled with black.
Martock is a village in Somerset which has given its name to the oldest broad bean cultivar in England, where records of it go back to the 12th century. The upright pods are in clusters and usually contain 2-4 small, almost round tan seeds, like modern field favas. In medieval times Martock beans were usually dried and then subsequently used in soups, stews and gruels, the mainstay of the medieval peasants’ winter diet. I grew two samples of MARTOC/MARTOCK which proved to be different so I am offering them both, under the names they came with. MARTOC is the shorter and earlier of the two with the typical white flowers with a black dot in the center. MARTOCK is later and tall-er and better yielding. Its flowers have additional pale purple streaks across the white petals.
Our daughter Rachelle spent a couple of months in Iluman, Ecuador, a few years ago and brought me some favas from the local market. ILUMAN has large elongated pale green seeds, usually with 1-3 seeds per pod. SMALL ILUMAN has pods in clusters of 3 or 4. There are 1-4 small to medium blond seeds per pod.
Packet (about 25 seeds) @ $3.00
- (Phaseolus acutifolius v. latifol) These are desert beans from the American Southwest. They are very drought tolerant and also do not mind cool sum-mers. The plants are rather sprawling, have quite small leaves and produce a lot of short slim pods. The seeds are a bit smaller than a navy bean and somewhat flattened. BLUE-GREY SPECKLED and MITLA BLACK teparies have done the best for us. WHITE and SONORAN GOLDEN teparies have been later and poorer quality.
25g @ $3.00
- (Glycine max) GRAND FORKS yields well and is the largest seeded soy I have grown. The seeds are yellow, partly overlaid with brown. MANITOBA BROWN has round to oval deep brown seeds. BLACK JET has pure black seeds and has the best flavour eaten as a dry bean.
25g @ $3.00
– My father and grandfather were growing GREAT NORTHERN in the thir-ties. It is a large flat white bean, the earliest I grow but unfortunately not a heavy yielder. ARIKARA YELLOW, grown by the native people of the Dakotas, is almost as early as Great Northern and a much better producer. The round slim pods have five or six light yellow-brown seeds. JACOB’S CATTLE has long pods containing large kidney-shaped seeds that are white with irregular red splotches. KAHL is a yellow-green bean shaped like a navy bean but almost twice as large. They are our fastest cooking beans. A few days later than Great Northern.
NORWEGIAN BROWN looks like a smaller, skinnier kidney bean. It is earlier than any kidney bean I have tried. DUTCH BROWN has plump oval light golden-brown seeds. LOW’S CHAMPION is considered to be an all-purpose bean — snap, fresh or dry shell. The medium length flat pods produce round red seeds. BLACK COCO has medium-sized round solid black seeds. FLAGEOLET is a slim white to light green bean that is used in all French dry bean dishes. PAINTED PONY has slim pods you might try as a snap bean when they are young. Seeds are white at one end and brown at the other with slightly more brown than white. NAVY is a small round white bean often used in pork and beans. RED PEANUT produces a heavy yield of small red beans that look like Spanish peanuts. The pods go from green (immature) to red (mature) to purple (dry). These beans are all a few days later than Great Northern.
MAGPIE and APPALOOSA are very similar except for the colour of the seeds. They are fairly early, with Apaloosa the earlier of the two, and have long slim pods and long narrow seeds. Magpie is about half black and half white. Appaloosa is white at one end and mottled purple at the other.
My favourite kidney bean is one that I call BIG RED. It is a large flat dark red bean. CANDADIAN WONDER (pre-1873) can be used as a snap bean when young. The red kidney-shaped seeds mature early for a kidney bean. RED KIDNEY and PINK KIDNEY are traditional kidney bean size and shape but Red is earlier and Pink has paler seeds.
Pinto beans are popular for ethnic cooking. AGASSIZ is a compact bush type that is very early. MEXICAN is a few days later, a heavy yielder with a very sprawling growth habit.
MOSTOLLER WILD GOOSE has large, mainly white seeds with a large buff and brown patch around the hilum. The plants have short runners. This variety dates back over one hundred years.
50g @ $3.00 (Navy & Red Peanut 25g @ $3.00)
- MAESTRO has very good flavour, long pods, and good mildew resistance. It is
very early, usually starting to produce at the end of June, but the plants are small and
the yield is not heavy. KNIGHT is about as early as Maestro and also mildew resistant and a better yielder with large, broad pods with big seeds. LARGE MANITOBA is an early dwarf variety which has the largest pods of any variety I grow, with 8-10 seeds per pod. Any information about its name and origin would be appreciated.
The following peas are semi-leafless varieties with most of their leaves replaced by tendrils. NOVELLA has compact plants with most of the pods concentrated near the top of the plant, and is early. PRAIRIE PARSLEY has very small leaves at the end of its ten-drils. These can be used like parsley leaves as a garnish. Bred in Saskatchewan.
Most peas are double-podded, i.e. having two pods growing at each node. Here are three triple- (and occasionally quadruple-)podded cultivars. Similar in maturing to No-vella is ARISTAGREEN, a heavy yielding variety with a concentration of rather short pods and good flavour. TRIPLET and TRIPLE TREAT are similar but the former is earlier and the latter heavier yielding.
The best all-round variety for the home garden is HOMESTEADER. It is mid season in maturity and heavy yielding. Flavour is excellent but its gets mildew badly toward the end of the season. GREEN ARROW is slightly earlier, has long pods and is mildew re-sistant, but its flavour is not as good. BOUNTY is similar in maturity to Green Arrow. Its pods are about as long as those of Homesteader, and it has mildew resistance. Yield and flavour are good.
CHAMPION OF ENGLAND (1843) is mid-season with fairly long pods containing 8 to 10 peas.
My latest pea is SPANISH SKYSCRAPER which grows 5 to 6 feet tall. The pods are short, the peas large, and the yield is heavy.
PETIT PROVENCAL is a petit pois type from France. This early variety should be har-vested young for best flavour and sweetness.
Homesteader: 50g @ $3.00, 125g @ $5.00, 500g @ $11.00
Bounty: 50g @ $3.00, 125g @ $5.00 Other varieties: 50g @ $3.00
SNAP and SUGAR PEAS
– Pick snap peas when the pods are plump and full, remove the string and eat them pod and all. They can be cooked or frozen, but we enjoy them best raw, as snacks or in salads.
CASCADIA is about a week later than Sugar Ann and much heavier yielding. SUGAR BON is similar in maturity to Cascadia with plump juicy pods. MEGA has a good yield of long juicy pods. SWEET JADE, a Saskatchewan bred variety, is semi-leafless and grows about 3’ tall. SUGAR MEL has long pods and is a good producer. RAE is a heavy pro-ducer of slim pods and resists mildew well, which is important as it produces late in the season.
AMISH SNAP PEA has 4’—6’ vines and plump pods, and apparently comes from the Amish community of Lancaster County, PA.
SUGAR DADDY is a stringless snap pea, which is mid-season in maturity, with fairly long pods and a good yield. SUGAR LACE is a semi-leafless snap pea with fairly long stringless pods and good mildew resistance.
Sugar or snow peas are picked when the pods are flat and are stir-fried or used in Chi-nese cooking. OREGON GIANT is a wonderful variety from Dr. James Baggett of Oregon State University. The large pods can be picked when they are flat, or allowed to devel-op full-sized peas and still eaten pod and all. Both pods and seeds are sweet and juicy.
SNOW WIND is a newer semi-leafless cultivar that is mildew resistant. RUSSIAN SUG-AR PEA is a tall vigorous plant with coloured flowers. A Russian Mennonite heirloom that came to Canada several generations ago. CHINESE GIANT SNOW-PEA is an older variety that grows about 4’ tall. The pods are larger than Oregon Giant and are picked when they are still flat. BOHEMIAN SNOW PEA has tall vines with flat wide pods and tan seeds speckled with purple. Brought to SK from Eastern Europe a couple of genera-tions ago. GOLDEN SWEET is a tall pea that produces large quantities of small flat yel-low pods. The ripe seeds can also be used to make pea soup.
Oregon Giant 50g @ $3.00, 125g @ $5.00
All other varieties: 50g @ $3.00
– RAISIN CAPUCIJNERS are Dutch dwarf peas yielding large brownish seeds which you can cook as you would dry beans. ST. HUBERT soup peas were brought to Quebec by French settlers, and to Saskatchewan by people from Quebec. The seeds are round and green, and the plants are tall. ZEINER’S GOLD is a tall plant producing good quantities of round bright yellow soup peas. CARLIN is a medium sized round pea heavily spotted with golden brown, that dates back at least to Elizabethan England. The plants are tall and heavy yielding, and it is the latest pea variety I grow.
50g @ $3.00
– HORSE LENTILS or GRASS PEAS (Lathyrus sativa) look like large angular grey green lentils. The plants are pretty with their finely divided leaves and blue flow-ers. Cook like a dry pea.
I am also growing a couple more recent selections of Lathyrus sativa. BLOND GRASS PEA has blond seeds and white flowers and was selected for human consumption. GREENFIX has darker, sometimes speckled seeds, and a mixture of blue and pink flow-ers. It is used as a green manure in very dry areas.
TINGA (Lathyrus sp.) has lovely pink “sweet pea” flowers and small dark seeds. The vines are about 4 feet long with very slender leaves. The plants are used for forage or for a green manure crop.
50g @ $3.00 (Tinga 25g @ $3.00)
- (Tetragonolobus purpureus) is a low growing sprawling plant with bright red-orange flowers. The pods are harvested before they are 1" long. They can be eaten raw or stir-fried, and are said to taste like asparagus.
Packet @ $3.00
– HAIRY VETCH (Vicia villosa) is a quick growing legume used as a green ma-nure crop. The 4'-5' sprawling plants are covered with attractive bluish-purple flowers. It is treated as an annual although some plants may winter over, and it may also self seed. It will fix more nitrogen if inoculated with a broad bean/fava innoculant.
25g @ $3.00, 125g @ $9.00