Monday, March 23, 2015

Jade: A mouth-watering green bean


Jade green beans

I long have had a love-hate relationship with green beans.

I love green beans.  I love to pick one in our garden and munch away.  I love the flavor of a green beans cooked just right—seven to eight minutes for us.

But most summers I have ended up hating green beans.  Over the years I’ve planted Variety A, Variety B, and then Variety C.  The beans often looked perfect, but they just weren’t mouth watering to munch on raw.  When cooked, well, they were just so-so—you know, sort of like those frozen ones that look so good on the package but with flavor not much more than the salt you’ve added. To be honest, many years I planted green beans, harvested a few handfuls, determined they were “blah,” and then ignored them until the bean beetles did them in.

Then two winters ago I was chatting with Howard County Master Gardener Kent Phillips, a great vegetable gardener, and said, “Hey, Kent.  I’m always disappointed in my green beans.  Can you recommend a variety worth growing and eating?”

“Jade,” Kent replied.  “I’ve grown it for years—the only one I grow.  It’s absolutely delicious.  I get seeds at Meyer Seed Co. in Baltimore when I make my annual trip to their store.”  I wasn’t about to drive 50 or 60 miles, roundtrip, to buy a packet of seeds, but I remembered our local hardware store, Kendall’s, sells Meyer Seeds, so I ordered a packet there.

This will be the third spring I’ve planted Jade green beans.  They grow beautifully.  Beans are five to seven inches long, straight as a, well, green bean, and dark green.  Last summer—a particularly good summer for growing any vegetable here in central Maryland—I picked Jades six times from one planting, surely a record for my garden.

Pop a Jade into your mouth in the garden and you’ll exclaim, “Now THAT is a green bean.”  Of course it is.  Cook a pot full, and you’ll almost weep at the flavor and wonder why anyone stoops to buy green beans at the supermarket.  Well, they buy tomatoes there too.

If you are hankering to grow a great green bean, I recommend you invest in a packet of Jade seeds.  SEARCH for them online, and you’ll find them available at several seed companies.  Fedco Seeds has a particularly helpful description:

"Jade Bush Green Bean (56 days) The original strain, favored by both market and home gardeners, producing great yields of tasty 5–7" straight slender round dark green beans that keep coming until late in the season, long after others have quit. Known for their holding quality, the tender pods with traditional bean flavor retain rich color longer than others, both on the vine and after picking. Jade’s strong upright bush habit holds pods above the ground, reducing curling and tip rot. PVP. Resistant to BBS, CBMV, NY15, CTV, tolerant to R. Caution: white-seeded Jade is a fussy germinator. Be sure your soil temperature is at least 60° and irrigate during dry spells."

Excuse me, please.  My mouth is watering just at the mere thought of  Jade green beans.  Grow them.  Eat them.

Still blooming afternoon before frost
November 2014


  1. Well, your description of the Jade beans have piqued my interest. Ordered some yesterday.

  2. We always grow blue lakes but got a mess of jades from a friend yesterday and am anxious to cook them today. I prefer to cook mine with a lil fat back and sugar. My grandmother cooked hers that way and i loved them.


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