Heirloom Beans: Rattlesnake, White Half Runner, Six-Week and Goose

| 8/14/2009 11:59:34 AM

bean teepeeGrowing up we couldn’t wait to go to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Arkansas each summer. The excitement would build until it was time to go visit them and our cousins each July. Grandma and Grandpa lived back in the country which gave us city kids got a chance to chase the chickens (we were only trying to pet them) and ride horses for a while.

I think my love of gardening got started back then, handed down from Grandma and Grandpa, as I was soaking up the views of their vegetable garden each summer, where they grew what they needed, and the fields that surrounded their home, growing cotton and rice. I just couldn’t wait till I was big enough to have a garden of my own. Those trips made a lasting impression on me, that’s for sure.

I think each that’s why each gardening season I get so excited when it’s time to plant. Our garden here in Lower Michigan is slowly starting to produce. We have been hit by late spring frosts and one big flood.

our flooded garden

So far we’ve only been able to pick cucumbers and peppers, but I can see the green beans are starting to come on now.

We’ve planted a variety of heirloom green beans. First there’s the Rattlesnake Bean, which originated from the Cherokee and are also known as Preacher Beans, because their high yield gives something for the preacher to preach about. They have long markings on them like rattlesnakes that disappear when you cook them. They taste so good.

8/30/2011 12:38:20 AM

Hi, Vicky Found your article searching 'goose beans,' which my X hubbys & I grew for a number of years. Ours came from the CRAW (usually filled with sand/gravel, where food goes before entering the gizzard) of a Dusky Canadian goose which was shot by a friend of a friend (in the 50s or 60s?) Ours were a white 'pea bean' or cowpea, & we enjoyed them, tho we didn't plant them every year. I think my X lost his saved seeds in a housefire ~ 16 years ago. I was enjoying browsing Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company's site this evening, after picking up a packet of Italian Red onion (Florence) of theirs. My, what a nice catalog! (www. Rareseed. com) I'm in Oregon :)

8/18/2009 3:31:28 PM

Thankyou for the welcome. Oh beans how I love them --your right there is nothing that says it's summer like beans!

Cindy Murphy
8/16/2009 11:45:12 AM

Hello, Neighbor. I live in lower Michigan too, as well as being your blogging neighbor here at Grit< (check out "A Lakeside View sometime for a peek into my area of the Mitten). Welcome to the community. In our part of lower Michigan, we had a very wet spring, followed by a cooler-than-normal summer which has been very dry. I didn't think our beans were ever going to produce. A recent period of rain, and a week or so of hot weather changed all that; the beans are now coming on like gang-busters. My husband just finished picking, packing up ziplock bags of them to give to friends and co-workers, and we've still got more than enough for a few nights of dinners. And that's just today's batch; there'll be more to pick tomorrow. They're just regular old pole beans - nothing special, but they taste oh-so-good and full of summer!

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