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Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean Seed

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Kentucky Wonder (58-72 days)

Also known as "Old Homestead" & before 1864 as "Texas Pole"

Kentucky Wonder is a classic, and popular pole bean that appeared sometime in the 1850s.  Although it had  many names, it has faithfully made its way into seed catalogs every year since.  Talk about reliability and dependability!  What makes Kentucky Wonder so special that over 84 U.S. seed companies still carry it?

It is a heavy producer born in clusters over an extended season; its 7-10" pods are stringless and tender when young, and rich in flavor.  It is perfect for growing on fences or poles, and reaches only 4-5 feet tall for easy harvest.  It is highly adaptable, rust resistant, and is a perfect green bean for fresh, cooked, frozen, or canned applications.

1936  James Seeds says about the "improved" cultivar...
"A selection from this popular Pole Bean, which is of better quality and more heavy bearing than ordinary strains. The flavor is sweet and delicate; the pods are a deep green. 7 inches long and nearly 1/2 inch through, solid and deeply creased, and are entirely stringless until too old for use. The pods are clustered up the poles so thickly that they overlap each other like shingles, and they can be gathered in handfuls. There is no need to plant a succession of beans if you grow this variety; just keep the plants picked clean of mature pods at all times and you will gather tender beans until heavy frost."

Steve Solmon's Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades says this about Kentucky Wonder....
"The best variety for dry-gardening is Kentucky Wonder Brown Seeded, not dubbed "Old Homestead" for nothing.  Space 1 foot apart on rows 4 feet apart.  Even when allowed to sprawl without poles or trellises you'll get a decent yield of delicious dry seed that tastes a lot like pinto beans."

Kentucky Wonder makes a great green bean to can!  Harvest when younger to keep them from producing any strings. 

My 1913 copy of California Vegetables by Wickson says "The best climbing bean for most California situations is the Kentucky Wonder or Old Homestead, which bears a mass of pods when grown to a six foot pole.  It is quite hardy and can be safely planted a week or more before many other varieties.  It is a medium  early bean and takes very readily to the poles; wonderfully prolific, the veins being actually loaded from top to bottom with pods from six to nine inches in length; as string beans the pods are nearly round, tender and very solid".

texas heirloom seedThey call this the Texas Pole bean for a good reason!  This is one of the best heirloom bean seeds for those hot Texas summers.  My grandparents taught me long ago the value of Kentucky wonder as a sure summer time provider of great green beans.  Many a day I spent on the porch swing snapping green beans and listening to my grandparents tell tall Texas tales.  And many a night I enjoyed eating them seasoned with smoked bacon. 

Recommended by the Following State Universities or Ag Extension Offices as a variety that performs well for their region.  IL, OR, TX

Seed Planting Depth

Seeds per ounce

Germination Temperature

Days to Germination

Row Spacing

Plant Spacing

100' Row Yield


1.25" 60-150 70 7-10 24" 4-6" 24 lb. (fresh) Full

Planting Tips:

50-60 days for green, 100+ days for dry beans.  Some vines can reach 12’ long, so provide adequate support.  Not cold tolerant, beans need warm soil of 65 degrees or better.  Regular harvesting of the young pods will ensure a greater yield.  Grows best in full sun with well watered soil.  Boost yields and germination by adding inoculants.

Make sure to provide adequate support for these vigorous climbers!  A strong fence or twine hung on a strong pole will give them plenty of room to grow and good harvest yields.

Heirloom seeds are hardy but always take care with your garden seeds to give them the appropriate amount of moisture - don't let the vegetable seeds dry out prematurely, and don't overwater and possibly have them rot.


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