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Best Garden Bush Bean Varieties

Bush beans require no extra support and are ready for harvesting all at once

Royal Burgundy's stringless pods are a stunning deep purple until they're cooked (then they turn green). Photo: B.D.'s World under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

We have some extremely dedicated green-bean-eaters here at my house. Green (or snap) beans are our go-to vegetable for sure, and we can’t grow enough of them. Whether they’re pole or bush beans, we plant as many varieties in our vegetable garden as possible. I have always felt that pole bean varieties have the most flavor. Couple that with the fact that they produce randomly all season long, and I’ve been hooked for years.

That said, I feel that I’ve done an injustice to bush beans by not giving them credit where credit is due. After further experimentation, I have decided that my judgment has been too severe about the short beans. As much as I adore the long-season bounty of poles, over the years we have tried various bush bean varieties in the potager.

And we liked them. Bush beans require no extra support and are ready for harvesting all at once, making them perfect for canning or freezing. We’ve also discovered that bush beans can have fabulous flavor (some that can even rival their pole counterparts). It’s all been rather impressive, and I’d like to share some of our favorite bush bean varieties.

Roma II ~ The original Roma is a delicious Italian classic pole bean. Roma II is the bush version of the same plant. Perfect for canning, they are stringless snap beans with tender, meaty, smooth, and flat pods. The plant is prolific and resistant to both mosaic and mildew mosaic. 55 days to harvest.

Maxibel ~ If you only get one bush bean variety, make it Maxibel. This is a full-size (7-inch pods) French filet bean that has straight, dark green pods. A very gourmet-type bean, Maxibel has a flavor that can’t be beat. 60 days to harvest.

Royal Burgundy ~ Plant Royal Burgundy in the garden if you want to give people something to talk about. Its 5-inch, stringless pods are a stunning deep purple until they’re cooked (then they turn green). Royal burgundy adapts to most garden environments, including cool areas. It’s also virus-resistant.

Dragon Tongue ~ Dragon Tongue is a stringless, Dutch wax heirloom. Pods are creamy yellow adorned with purple streaks. They’re not just another pretty face, however. Dragon Tongue has superb flavor, making it popular with chefs. It’s prolific too. 55 days to harvest.

Nickel ~ One of my very favorite green beans, Nickel is a French baby gourmet filet bean. The pods are 4 inches long, stringless, and delicious. It’s also resistant to white mold and brown spots. 52 days to harvest.

Jade ~ A super productive and flavorful bean that produces 5- to 7-inch-long slender, dark green pods. This particular bush bean variety tends to produce more than other bush varieties. 56 days to harvest.

Cupidon ~ Anyone who has grown the French filet Cupidon will claim that this is their favorite snap bean. It’s a truly prolific plant with 6- to 8-inch-long stringless pods that are loaded with flavor and are impossibly tender. Don’t miss out on this one. 55 days to harvest.

Bush Kentucky Wonder (Old Homestead) ~ Kentucky Wonder (or Old Homestead) is widely grown by home gardeners everywhere—and for good reason. It’s a big producer of 8-inch-long stringless and tender pods. Their flavor is excellent when they are eaten fresh or canned. 55 days to harvest.

Tendercrop ~ This is another reliable home garden variety that produces tender yet crisp, delicious pods. Another heavy-yielding variety, Tendercrop is especially suited for northern regions. 55 days to harvest.

Contender ~ Contender produces 6- to 8-inch-long round, stringless pods that offer fresh green bean flavor. It’s productive, produces early, and is heat and mildew tolerant. 45 days to harvest.

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