Finding an Old Friend: German Beans

“Hello.  I’m interested in your knowledge.  Maybe you can give me imformation on a certain variety.  years ago my Grandmother game me some seeds, she called German beans.  The bean was a big as a big lima, but more round. It was white. The pod could reach twelve inches, it looked like a huge Kentucky wonder. The stalk could get half inch thick and grow fifteen feet or so. The pod and stalk were real tuff. The leaves could get as wide as a small paper plate. I think the bloom was kind of a violet color. It seemed to be a slow growing plant. The leaves and pods were dark green. The pod could be 1″ diameter. Any Imfo will be appreciated. Thank You. Ricky”


Hi Ricky,

Thank you for your letter regarding your Grandmother’s “German Beans”.  Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with a bean by that particular name that matches your description.  However, there are two with other names that are heirlooms that may be a close match:

–Brita’s Foot Long:  This dry pole bean variety has long pods and large white seeds.  The beans are very flavorful.  As of about 2005, it was offered exclusively by Salt Spring Seeds in Salt Spring Island, Canada.  In looking at their current offerings on their website and contacting the owner of the company, I found out that it was dropped from their company a few years ago.  A couple other places to check would be Seed Savers Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  Seed Savers Exchange has a wonderful network of members that grow and offer TONS of different heirloom varieties.  Baker Creek is has a wide assortment of varieties that you just don’t find in other catalogs.  I’ve included the contact information for both at the end of this letter.

–Jack and the Beanstalk:  This Polish heirloom is gigantic!  It grows to 20 feet tall and has large, white beans.  It is available from Rich Farm Supply.

I hope this information helps you out and I’m sorry that I don’t have a better answer.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.


Contact Information:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company

2278 Baker Creek Road

Mansfield, MO  65704

Phone: (417) 924-8917



Rich Farm Supply

985 W. State Rd. 32

Winchester, IN  47394

Phone:  (765) 584-2500 Ext. 111



Seed Savers Exchange

3094 North Winn Road

Decorah, IA  52101

Phone:  (563) 382-5990









© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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