Compact bush beans fill the bill for any garden and are perfect for the small homestead. Bush beans mature on the plant all at once, so feel free to plant them at three-week intervals to keep the harvest coming all season long.
Because they do ripen at nearly the same time, bush beans are a good choice to have in the homestead garden if you plan on canning.
Below are some heirloom varieties that produce delicious green (snap) beans for fresh eating. I chose most of these varieties for their uses as a snap bean, but several of them (when left on the vine to fully mature) make great dried beans, as well.
- Blue Lake 274 -- Blue Lake 274 was developed from the Blue Lake pole bean in 1961. It may not bear a fancy name, but its tender pods are reliable and bountiful. Eat as many as you can fresh from the garden and then can or freeze the rest of the harvest. 60 days to harvest.
- Bountiful -- This bush bean has good resistance to mildew, beetles, and rust. High quality, stringless pods are delicious and good keepers off the vine. Perfect candidates for freezing and canning, too. 49 days to harvest.
- Burpee's Stringless -- Drought-tolerant, heat-resistant, and prolific. Burpee's Stringless has great, full flavor and a satisfying snap. 50 days to harvest.
- Cherokee Wax -- This vigorous bush produces long, waxy, disease-resistant, yellow pods and a heavy producer. Harvest and use them fresh, frozen, or canned. 58 days to harvest.
- Contender (AKA: Buff Valentine) -- High-yielding producer of disease-resistant and tasty pods. Contender has been a favorite of gardeners sine its introduction in 1949. 50 days to harvest.
- Tongues of Fire (AKA: Borlotto or Horto) Bush -- Italian cooks rave over Borlotto as a soup (dried) bean. But it's also eaten young as a green bean. Pods are white with red streaks. 55 days to harvest (as a snap bean).
- Dragon Tongue -- Stringless and prolific Dragon Tongue with its creamy-yellow pods covered in thin, purple streaks are a kid's favorite in the garden. Who doesn't want to grow Dragon's Tongues? But it's a favorite of chefs for its superb flavor. 55-60 days to harvest.
- Kentucky Wonder Bush (AKA: Commodore) -- This prolific producer of stringless, flavorful pods was introduced as a bush bean during the late 1800s. 65 days to harvest.
- Landreth Stringless -- Landreth Seed Company (the oldest seed house in America) introduced this early producing bush bean in 1885. They're chock full of snap and have a juicy and full flavor. 54 days to harvest.
- Nickel Bush -- Nickel is a high-quality, French baby gourmet filet bean. that's stringless and delicious. A favorite among chefs, it's also resistant to white mold and brown spot. 52 days to harvest.
- Calima -- This long, dark green, French filet snap bean freezes and cans like a dream. Harvest Calima bush beans when they are about the thickness of a pencil. 50days to harvest.
- Provider -- Early, fleshy, disease-resistant , and prolific (to say the least) snap bean that germinates in cool soil. Excellent for canning and freezing. 48-54 days to harvest.
- Royalty Purple Pod -- Royalty Purple Pod doubles as an ornamental in the kitchen garden by offering purple blooms. Stringless, purple pods turn green when they're cooked and makes an excellent bean for veggie soup. 55 days to harvest.
- Tendercrop -- This heavy producer is Mosaic virus and Pod Mottle virus resistant. a great snap bean for North Midwest and West gardens. 55 days to harvest.
- Top Crop -- Another prolific plant, Top Crop bush offers round, meaty, stringless, and flavorful pods. A homestead favorite that's exceptional for canning and freezing. 52 days to harvest.