Some green beans flat and tough

by susan threlkeld
(clarkesville georgia)

comparison two on left flat, other two are normal

comparison two on left flat, other two are normal

My husband has been gardening for yrs. we live in north georgia a good climate, enough water,sun, the soil is good. Question: Each yr. the half runner green beans, have had more and more flat and tough beans. It wasn't so bad when there were a few here and there but now there are a lot. I think my husband said he heard someone else complain about this problem, so we feel like it is not just us, or our soil, but maybe the quality of seed. Think maybe there is a better place to buy the seeds, he uses the same farm store each yr. wondering if other people are having this problem. Flat, tough half runner green beans. If you get a bite of one of these flat beans in your mouth, it is like a piece of stringy leather.
For comparison:
the picture shows two beans on left are flat, the other two normal.

Comments for Some green beans flat and tough

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Jul 23, 2012
Stringy Beans
by: Kiwi George

Hi Susan. As your neighbors are also having the same problem it would appear that your theory of poor quality seed may be the problem or the seed growers patch may have become contaminated. Other wise it may be that you are growing your beans in the same patch and unknowingly depleting the soil in that patch of one or more specific nutrients. Since studying Organic Horticulture I now cycle one of my No-Dig beds each year by allowing it to lie fallow after covering it with a thick mulch. This allows Mother Nature to do her thing and restore the soil. A green manure crop, eg, mustard which has a cleansing action may also help.
Regards
Kiwi George

Jul 30, 2012
Tough stringy beans
by: Anonymous

You have to pick beans often, most days really. They hide at the back behind leaves, lol, and then get tough and stringy as they are left on the plant too long.

Lots of feeding and water to keep them plump is necessary. Otherwise definitely change your seeds or variety as tough beans are gross.

Aug 27, 2012
Flat, tough green beans.
by: Dee

I had the same problem this with seeds purchased in Cumming, GA. I believe the white half runner seeds have definitely been contaminated at some point with that terrible flat bean. We tried to remove the flat beans when preparing to can and freeze them so we will find out how well we did when we cook them later. Since my family's favorite green bean is the white half runner, we decided to save the seeds from known good runners, dry them and use them next year. Problem hopefully solved.

Jul 18, 2013
beans 80% tough
by: Anonymous

we have grown the half runner beans since 1975, and I noticed that more and more are the flat, fibrous bean that is almost inedible. I kept trying to decide if the State or Mountain half runner was best, but it seems they are both increasingly the tough ones. This year we have had lots of rain and the vines are beautiful, but I would guess 80% are the inedible ones. Hope someone can find a solution, because the half runners keep their firmness after canning better than other varieties.

Jul 30, 2013
Bad beans
by: Anonymous

I have been growing Blue Lakes for 25 years. Four years ago they started going flat. And ast yeat read an article that they were reverting back to the original bean that was used for hybriding. So, this year i switched to a completely different bean and company....same thing, flat beans! I give up as i refuse to use these things. We change area of planting every year. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. I live in Eastern Washington stste.

Aug 10, 2013
FLAT GREEN BEANS
by: DOT

I have been growing blue lake pole beans. The first year they were excellent. I rotate crops and each successive year I have gotten more and more flat beans that are tough and inedible I tried different beans with no success. They all go flat. I am at my wits end no one can tell me what's going on with them my sister a master gardener said maybe not enough water so this year I am watering excessively and still flat beans. the varieties I am growing are blue lake pole, snake alley and a purple climbing variety. What is wrong with them? This has gone on for several years. I live in SW Washington

Aug 15, 2013
How to avoid growing tough beans
by: ~ Megan

I started to write a reply, then found such an excellent, concise article so I've more or less copied it here for all to read.

Thanks to:
Donna Teasley, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center.

Complaints about tough green beans.

Most folks around Burke County grow one of the half-runner type green beans. These beans have been grown for generations and until the advancement of commercial seed saving techniques, the seeds were saved from each year’s harvest by the individual grower. But, as the superior flavor and tenderness of these beans was discovered by more and more people, commercial seed companies began growing the seed for mass harvest. In turn, commercial vegetable growers began to grow the half-runner bean to sell at fresh markets.

Here is where the problem probably first started. Because of beans’ tenderness, shelf life was not as good as other green bean varieties. Farmers wanted a more durable bean and as a consequence seed companies bred a certain amount of toughness into the bean. As more and more farmers bought commercial seed, this mass produced product got mixed up with seeds that had been saved for years by our ancestors.

I remember that my grandmother was always very careful of her seed beans. When she came upon a tough plant, she immediately pulled it up so it would not get mixed with the good beans. Modern seed harvesting is mechanized and everything gets harvested without ever being touched by human hands.

There are still good heirloom beans available thanks to those gardeners who have taken the time to make sure our old family varieties get saved and kept apart from the commercial varieties. In essence, white half-runner seeds bought at the hardware store are not really the same half-runner that our great grand parents planted.

Heirloom seeds are available and can be found online. There are many heirloom seed saving and seed sharing websites. Once you get hold of some of the good beans, start saving the seed for yourself. Try to keep them planted well away from commercial beans so that mix-ups won’t occur.

In defense of bean seeds that are sold commercially, weather can play a part in the tough bean problem. Extremely hot temperatures while the bean is forming on the vine can cause a certain amount of toughness. High temperatures can also interfere with pollination which can also result in tough beans. Also, remember that the half-runner type bean has natural tendencies for genetic variations such as flat or tough beans.

Megan says: Here is my recommended source for a huge range of economical non-hybrid seeds — US & Canada -- Heirloom Seeds

Aug 15, 2013
gren beans flat and tough
by: Anonymous

I, too, am having the same exact problem with half runner beans, and I'm in the southern mountains of NC. Could be the same bean source? Definitely not a happy bean grower this year.

Aug 22, 2013
Flat, tough green beans
by: Judy

We are having the same problem here in Portland Oregon. It is very frustrating as we have been growing green beans for over 40 years and have never had this problem until a few years ago. We also know people in the area with the same problem.

Sep 16, 2013
Blue Lake 1/2 runner beans
by: Linda

Am so irked. After 50+ years of planting these beans, almost 99% turned out to be flat tough beans. Each year it has gotten worse until this year and now it is the 99%. I bought them from L**** and were suppose to be organic beans. They are horrible. Will cook these last one in the pressure cooker. Maybe that will help.

Sep 16, 2013
Flat stringy blue lake beans
by: Linda

I just put in a comment about the beans. We are here in the KC. Mo. area. So guess it's everywhere..

Sep 21, 2013
Bad Blue Lakes
by: Jim in California

I've ben having the same problem with pole Blue Lakes the last half dozen years, getting worse over time. Thought I would search on-line to see if others were having this problem and found this article and others. Looks like its bad genetics and nothing to do with growing conditions etc. I love the "good" Blue Lakes, but I'm fed up with the misfits. I'm going to try another variety next year. From looking around, it sounds like Kentucky Blue is worth a try.

Mar 12, 2014
Flat beans
by: Lloyd Pritchett

I and my friends have the same problem here in Ellijay, Ga. I am going to order some heirloom half runner seeds off the internet. They supposedly don't have this problem. I think the seed companies are doing a poor job of quality control when they pick the beans for seed.

Jun 10, 2014
Blue Lake Pole Beans tough & stringy - It's not you!
by: Anonymous

This link from Ed Hume Seeds explains;
http://www.humeseeds.com/blp_prob.htm

We have been having the same problem here in the Fraser Valley BC Canada for several years now.
It's nice to know it is not my gardening skills.
I have tried numberous different brands all with the same result although my ratio for the tough flat beans (from store bought seeds)is quite low - about 10% to 20%.
I continue to grow the Blue Lake seeds but I also save seeds from the plants that I know are the true Blue Lake and they do seem to grow true the next year. I ran out this year (rust problems last year) so unfortunately will be starting over this year with new store bought seeds.
The flat stringy ones are okay canned if you pick them before they get too big and ugly.
Happy gardening!
Janet

Jul 05, 2014
flat beans
by: MGC

We are in east central Mississippi. My husband has been planting Louisiana Purple Pod Pole beans for years and not always in the same place. They are hardy and tasty beans. This year the beans are flat and I can find no good reason. His gardening buddy next door planted a green pole bean and his is flat also. We have had a number of years when the weather has been much the same. They have been fertilized, water, hoed and pampered as always. I've read all the other posts. The problem with hybrid seed is plausible but with the neighbor's beans doing the same, that would be an amazing coincidence.

Jul 15, 2014
flat beans
by: ccc

Our white half runners this year are about 90% fibrous. Earlier pickings weren't as bad so we conclude that the beans cross pollinate and convert to the tough ones. I think that the only solution is to cut out the bad vines and remove them from the patch. I'll try this next year. Hope someone finds a good solution.

Jul 31, 2014
Same problem in Illinois
by: Anonymous

75% of the green beans on our plants are flat and tough. Bought our seeds at Burpees so we wouldn't have this problem. Guess what?

Aug 03, 2014
Flat tough beans
by: Anonymous

Here in WV, we have the same problem. More flat tough beans than good ones.

Aug 09, 2014
Give these a try
by: Anonymous

Had the same problem here in the foothills of SWVA,I ordered some for Bill Best in KY the (NT half runners)have been very satisfied with results have not had any flat tough ones yet. (Youtube Bill Best )

Aug 10, 2014
Bad bad beans
by: Anonymous

So we're not the only ones having this problem, apparently. Good to know. We're in Ellijay, GA (north GA, near TN/NC line). Beans are basically inedible. Maybe we'll try the heirloom next year.

Aug 10, 2014
Bad Seeds
by: Linda

The seed company sent us new packets of beans, Bush instead of Pole beans like we had last year, that we had the problems with being flat and stringy. I was very happy to get them. And now among my beans are the runners that are flat and stringy. So, not happy about this. And they are planted in a part of the garden that has NEVER had bean in it. Am extremely irritated. So now I need to find those packets and write to them again...... Oh and they are SEEDS OF CHANGE from Lo**s. Certified Organic.... Am NOT a happy camper......

Aug 18, 2014
flat beans
by: hillbillyhoward

we grew 20 bushel of whr beans and 15% came out flat-love that pic at top-our soil is good and conditions were right so I suspect xpollination or whr must be a hybred-didnt know that before-im gonna save seed this year from true fruits and see as my customers want nothing but whr beans.i also am now picking my taylor horticulture and have encountered some varients.-duh.wish I had an answer but----------

Aug 18, 2014
Tough green beans
by: Linda

Mine were all Blue Lake. They have been around for 50+ years. All I know is that even the bush beans have runners mixed in with them. Nothing ever stays true anymore. So disappointed in these beans. Will try another brand next year. So they say, they will refund my money. Don't know how that is going to happen... didn't order from them, got them at Lowes.

Sep 14, 2014
Flat Stringy Blue Lake Pole Beans
by: Sherry

I'm from Orem,Utah and got on the internet to see why my Blue Lake Pole beans had so many flat and stringy beans this year. It seems that I am not alone. It has been getting worse for the past several years. I planted Derby from Vermont Bean Company at my mothers garden. They are a bush bean, and they were wonderful. I prefer pole beans, but not what I have been getting lately. Next year I will plant Derby at my mothers garden and at mine also. No more Blue Lake Pole beans for me!

Sep 14, 2014
Blue Lake beans
by: Linda

I was extremely disappointed this year with my beans. They were suppose to be Blue Lake bush beans. And low and behold, there were runner beans in with them. All new packages from the company. And the pole beans were flat and stringy. But the company did send me a check for what I paid for them. But did not reimburse me for my time an trouble, much less the beans I would have canned. Only got about 1/3 as many beans as I would have had otherwise. And I can not eat anything with salt in it. That is why I am extremely disappointed!!!!

Dec 14, 2014
Blue Lake F-M 1
by: Marc

I'm having the same trouble with flat fibrous beans......no matter how immature the beans are picked. Last season made 3 years straight with inedible beans.....unless you like the texture of hay/grass. I read one comment where the poster was going to try pressure cooking.....save yourself the time and trouble and just plow that crop of beans under. The amount of fiber is intolerable even after double/tripple snapping and slow cooking for hours. This is not just a few plants that produced a bad crop.....I planted 1/2 pound of seed and got nothing in return. I made sample pickings during the entire season and quickly learned which beans were edible.....virtually none. The supplier still lists the F-M 1 in the current catalogue (2015 season) and makes the same claim of "stringlees and fiberless at all stages" (direct quote) which I disagree with. I have never grown such a dismal crop of green beans in my entire gardening experience which started in early 1970's. I wrote a review at the suplier's site after the end of the season......for some reason the review was never published.

Feb 10, 2015
New zealand
by: Nz

I too am experiencing this same problem. Must be a world wide thing!

Jul 29, 2015
canning flat beans
by: Anonymous

Is it okay to can these flat beans?

Aug 05, 2015
Flat fibrous green beans
by: Andrea

I also have noticed the decline in pole green bean quality.. it started out with a couple plants and has increased over the last 5-6 years.
I move my beans around, I mulch and water regularly. The Plants are healthy with loads if blooms.
It's too bad the seed companies don't gave better quality control. I gave always bought my seeds from a smaller seed company in Oregon. They do not sell GMO seeds, but it's clear they are experiencing the same problems.
I am going to experiment next year with a couple varieties as I have been growing Blue Lakes.
To wait all year for fresh homegrown beans and to not be able to enjoy them is a real bummer.
I live in Washington on the Columbia River.

Aug 05, 2015
Canning tough beans
by: Anonymous

Just read through this and it is so helpful, thanks goodness it's not ME. thought i was a rotten gardener!!

To the person who asks if they're cannable, ha ha, - it you read back, someone says they can be canned if you pick them young, but another person, says no way, sorry to say.

Aug 05, 2015
Canning green beans
by: Anonymous

Yes you can, can them. But will be stringy. Good if you are really desperate for green beans, I let mine fill out and hull them and use for soups and such. Don't like to waste anything if I can help it.

Aug 06, 2015
Tough beans
by: Marc

I last posted on Dec 14 in regard to tough stringy beans. I wasn't going to try for four years in a row on stringy beans.....no pole beans were planted this time around.

Has anyone had better luck this season?? If planted on time the beans should have been ready last month in some areas (Zone 6).

I had a dismal start with all the rain and planting at least three weeks late. I hope to see how the beans turn out this year by this afternoon.......if it doesn't rain this morning.

Might not be much of a sampling after not putting the rabbit fence up. Gardening is getting to be quite a challenge in my area with all the wildlife. Deer eat the tips of the tomato plants and melon vines, rabbits eat the beans and brussel sprouts, the chipmunks eat what they please. Fence does nothing when it comes to chipmunks.......they just tunnel under it or crawl through it.

Aug 16, 2015
Frustrated with growing half runners because of the flat beans
by: Anonymous

i am frustrated also. I have grown half runners for 20 years and have the same problem with the flat beans. I live in Western North Carolina. The flat bean problem has gotten worse over the last four years. It is a waste of space, time and money. This year I had 20% good beans and 80 % flat beans.

Aug 22, 2015
Flat Pole Beans
by: K.C.

I live in Colorado and have had the same problem for the last 3 years. I feel better now knowing it isn't just me and my green thumb failing. My plants themselves look great, but exploding with beans that are flat and leathery. My grandson is once again disappointed. We love to can together, and green beans are his favorite veggie. So much time and anticipation lost.

Aug 22, 2015
We will definitely go with hybrid
by: Mary

We live in Wisconsin and have been having the same problem with flat, stringy green beans. After investigating this last year we thought it was a problem with the Blue Lake pole beans. This year we planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans and had the same problem. We are so disgusted by this! We haven't been able to have fresh green beans or can green beans for five or six years now. Next year we are definitely going to plant hybrid seeds! Good luck everyone!!

Sep 05, 2015
What's going on?
by: julie

This is about the sixth year in a row we have had horrible stringy green beans. We have always grown Kentucky wonder or blue lake pole beans with great results. My beans started getting stringy and when I canned them they split apart in half and don't hold their shape. I planted organic seeds this year. Worse than ever. I bought some store bought green beans to cook fresh and they were the same way. So stringy, tuff, flat and kind of fuzzy texture. What's going on? We live on the Oregon coast so hot temperature is not a factor and have always had great success before the last few years. I'm suspicious our seeds are being tampered with in some way. It's the only explanation since its all states wide and experienced gardeners having this problem.

Sep 15, 2015
Blue Lakes
by: LindaVandehey

Getting more and more stringy and flat each year. Why?

Sep 15, 2015
Green beans
by: Linda H.

First time in years that I didn't plant the Blue Lake runner beans. So I went and planted some bush beans and ordered some more. This was my 5th planting, rain, etc... So I ordered from Burpee 2 lbs. of beans. They came up but are semi runners. And now something has eaten all of the beans. Was so excited last week when I canned 3 1/2 qts. What ever it was, ate the whole bean and part of the stem. We have a fence around our garden and chicken wire around the bottom. Didn't bother with the leaves. Does anyone know what this would have been? First time in almost 50 years of planting that I have had this problem.... Sooooo bummed!!!!

Jan 19, 2016
Flat beans
by: Anonymous

I am so irritated at the pole beans over the past 4 years. They start out fine, then about half way through the harvesting time they start getting flat. Couldn't figure it out and blamed myself for using insecticides and killing the bees. Thought they weren't getting pollinated. I've purchased Blue Lake Pole beans from three different seed companies thinking that it would get better. Last year I had 4" plants that were already showing CBMV on the leaves. I'm not sure if I want the work involved with bush beans though. Has ANYONE had any luck with the NT half runner. I didn't even know a half runner existed.

Jan 20, 2016
Linda H. & Anonymous
by: Marc

Linda H.

How's your chipmunk population?? Are there any golfball sized holes inside the fenced area?? These pests simply tunnel under any fence you install. They did so much damage last year that I plan on setting traps early in the season. Chipmunks may be cute but they will destroy small tender plants.....beans are a favorite of theirs.

Anonymous (1-19-16)

I've given up on any beans that are not bush type. The only extra work is you have to bend over to harvest them. I'm not that proud that I refuse to sit on a small stool.......or rest on one knee while I pick. If I'm really tired I crawl on all fours.....lol.

Jun 09, 2016
flat green beans
by: Anonymous

our green beans are the same way wish we could find out if it is seeds or soil.

Jun 10, 2016
Super stringy beans
by: Marc

I gave up on the Blue Lake pole beans...never again.

I rotate all crops every year and use fertilizer, so it's not a matter of nutrients. The beans are reverting back to the parents used for creating the hybrid......not much can be done other than to develop a new hybrid.


Jul 01, 2016
Tough Pods
by: Laverne

Same thing here in Southern California. I think it is global warming. It has been hotter every year for the past decade. Even with ample watering (I use a hydrometer to test the soil moisture), most of my garden vegs are suffering. I use bedding plants, so they have a good start and do well through March, April and May, BUT THEN----! I have to shade my tomatoes.

Jul 08, 2016
TOUGH BEANS
by: SHIRAL

We did not grow green beans this year because our last crop was pitiful. The flavor of blue lakes was terrible and half runners were tough. No seed beans in side the hulls. Is this the product of gmo or some kind of genetic altering? I purchased heritage beans supposedly any way and it was the same thing. Whats going on?

Jul 30, 2016
Tough Kentucky wonder bush beans
by: Anonymous

This is the first time I have planted this variety bean. But it is pretty much inedible due to tough hulls. So I searched online and found that the problem seems to be happening with a variety of beans. I had quit growing Half runners because of this, and like to grow stringless to save work when canning. Now this. It has been a very hot and dry summer, so maybe that accoubts for some of it. But i also think bean seeds are getting contaminated since there are some bad beans mixed in with the good ones every year. Just worse than ever this year. So disappointed here in East Tennessee.

Aug 03, 2016
Tough beans in with half runners
by: Gloria

Hi, I have this same problem and have had it for several years. I've bought half runner seeds from different places and always have more flat tough ones than the good ones. This year, 2016, about 90% of my beans are these terrible flat tough ones. If they are big enough to shell I'll do that sometimes but mostly I just throw them down. I've about had it with half runners.

Aug 07, 2016
flat beans
by: Anonymouskeith

Same problem here in West Michigan. Kentucky wonders came out Kenyucky wonders. Flat as can be, all of them. Had me perplexed. Seeds were Burpees purchased from Walmart. Hmmm maybe they came from China.

Aug 18, 2016
Blue Lake Pole Beans
by: Donna

Same problem here in Victoria, BC. But only on the sunniest side of the plant. I watered lots and the dirt was brand new, very fertile and everything else has grown like crazy. It is only the pole beans tho, the bush beans were fine.

Sep 04, 2016
quit hybreeding beans
by: Anonymous

Some one said it was because of the beans were picked too late. I agree that can happen but this year even the small ones were very stringy, some were so bad I could not even break them, it was more strings than bean. The string was much bigger and tougher than I have ever seen and I have grown them for more than fifty years. I have had to throw too many out.

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