Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another Year for Greasy Beans?

I wrote this blog post as I was thinking about what to grow in the 2014 gardening season.  I didn't order these beans, and it's probably just as well, because some animal kept eating our beans.  We had an almost complete failure of our beans in 2014.  But the last two years, we've had good luck with our beans.

We are shrinking our garden this year, but will always make room for beans.  So, today, a repeat of this 2014 post:

Greasy Beans in Upstate New York?

It is time to order our seeds for our 2014 community garden. We garden in the Binghamton area of upstate New York.

We look through catalogs, and ponder, and know that this year's garden will be the best ever.  There will be no drought, no rotting from too much rain, no insect pests, and no critter damage.  Everything we plant will come up, will flourish, and we will harvest record yields of everything.


You must be an optimist in order to garden.

And, your heart must beat faster when you see something new.  Will you try it out?

Two Septembers ago, we visited Asheville, North Carolina and had the opportunity to visit several local farmer's markets - or, as they call them there, tailgate markets. (Unlike New Yorkers, North Carolinians reserve the term "farmers markets" for markets held in permanent structures).
North Asheville Tailgate Market, 2012
Even if there isn't a tailgate in sight, tailgate markets they are. 

In a North Carolina market, you will find products and produce you won't find in any upstate New York market.  That's part of the fun of travel.

Some vendors were selling something called a greasy bean.  We saw them for sale, but because we had no cooking facilities in the B&B where we were staying, we couldn't try them.  What they are is a pole green bean, without the tight fuzz you find on the pod of the typical green bean.  This gives them a shiny, or "greasy" appearance.  We were told they had excellent eating qualities, and that they were a bean grown in certain areas of the southeast, including Kentucky, and western North Carolina.

I must have signed up for this catalog somewhere when visiting Asheville, because the last two winters I have received an Asheville seed catalog called Sow True.

Last year, we didn't buy very much mail order,but this year, I decided we needed to support some of the smaller, non GMO catalogs.

So I opened up the Sow True catalog and what did I see:  Greasy beans.

The world of beans is fascinating: there are so many kinds to choose from. We've lived in several parts of the United States over the years, and have tried some of these varieties (when we lived in Kansas, we grew dried beans and in Arkansas, we grew yard long beans and crowder peas. ) But here in upstate New York, we do have a shorter growing season (perhaps 150 days) than Asheville (I would estimate between 185 and 195 days).  So, our first question was:  will these greasy beans even grow here?

We don't know. Some greasy beans, for example, have been grown in the Pacific Northwest with varying degrees of success.  But greasy beans here?  I've never seen them in any farmers market, not that I've been to every one in this area.

Again, I don't know if they will succeed.  But my heart says we should try.  Why not? Isn't experimentation part of learning?  What do we have to lose but some space in our community garden? And, if we succeed, we have a food unavailable locally at any price.

Have any of my readers tried to grow greasy beans outside of their normal Appalachian range?


  1. Maybe if you provided daily applications of Brylcream, you'll attain success... :-)

    1. You are going to have me thinking of a clever reply to this for days. Thanks....

  2. Never tried greasy. Green beans, yes I have had failures! A few years ago between starter plants, and seeds I figured my crop was about $10/lb but I was determined to eat as many as the slugs were eating! I have had success the last few years with pole beans. I too am starting to think about the garden and it is always fun to try new varieties. I have a longer growing season, thank-you Climate change, so now I've even had marginal success with cantaloupe and watermelon!

  3. Anxiously watching from Canada. Will they grow here? We have excellent luck with other varieties . . .

  4. Regional differences are fascinating. Tailgate market? I had no idea.

  5. I don't know anything about greasy beans, but I did once, when in a new state and unsure of the season, get the plants started indoors in the winter and then replant them outdoors for the season. Worked out for us.

  6. Just sounds so gosh-durned appetizing... come to think of it, "wax beans" doesn't sound any better.

  7. Y'know, I give up. I make a crack about the name, and the next produce I run across is called "Rotten Clarage Dent Corn." http://www.southernexposure.com/rotten-clarage-dent-corn-42-g-p-2072.html?zenid=xjrLZM90GSj73seccGm6r1

    I give up.

  8. I loved the market place..and waiting eagerly for updates ..

  9. Greasy Beans don't sound appetizing to me at all. How did they turn out? Are they tasty? I've never seen them here in S.Africa. Do you need time-out?

  10. This post about greasy beans interested me so much that I clicked all the links here to know more. Additionally, since the greasy bean plant image did not come up through these links, I googled. I am amazed with the fact that there are so many varieties of beans grown in the world.In India too, we must be having 4-5 varieties of beans grown.We don't separate the seeds here for making dishes, but cut the beans to cook (along with the seeds) as a side dish with the breads.


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