The Kentucky Wonder is an heirloom pole bean plant that has a dark green color. An heirloom plant (sometimes called heirloom variety, heritage fruit, or heirloom vegetable) refers to an old cultivar of a plant used for food. Food historians believe the Kentucky Wonder was grown throughout the south and that includes Texas (this helps explain why one of the earlier names of Kentucky Wonder is Texas pole) by the 1850s. It was commercially known as ‘Kentucky Wonder’ in 1877, from James J. H. Gregory & Sons. The fleshy pods of the Kentucky Wonder Bean grow up to 10 inches long while the plant itself can grow as high as 7 feet. The bean seeds are brown. Farmers and growers love the Kentucky Wonder bean because of its high yield.
The Kentucky Wonder is one of the most popular green beans of all time.
Species: P. vulgaris
Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Kentucky Wonder’
Kentucky Wonder Bean Trivia
- In 1907, the USDA described the Kentucky Wonder Bean as the best known and most widely-grown pole bean in America.
- The Kentucky Wonder bean is also known as American Sickle Pole, Eastern Wonder, Egg Harbor, Georgia Monstrous Pole, Improved Southern Prolific, Missouri Prolific, Old Homestead, Texas Pole, and Improved Kentucky Wonder.
- If you want it stringless, harvest it while it is still young. It only develops a string once it starts to mature.
Kentucky Wonder Bean Buying Guide
Your local grocery or supermarket should have a consistent supply of green beans although there is no knowing for sure if they are selling Kentucky Wonder beans or a different cultivar of green beans. A good indicator that the Kentucky Wonder beans for sale in the market is of good quality is their color. Fresh green beans have a bright green color. Inspect the beans and see if there are any blemishes, spots, discoloration, or damage on the skin, like holes or anything that makes it undesirable for cooking/eating. It is also a good idea to buy beans of the same length.
If you are thinking of planting Kentucky Wonder beans, you can buy seeds from the store. You can also order it online.
Kentucky Wonder Bean Production & Farming in Texas
Planting Kentucky Wonder bean is easy. The Kentucky Wonder Bean requires full sun and well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. This plant needs 1 inch of water a week. Avoid wetting leaves to minimize the onset of any plant diseases. If the soil gets dry while the beans are blooming, the blooms will drop and yields will decrease. The Kentucky Wonder bean is a pole bean so make sure you have set up a support system for the plant to grow on. You can put up poles or make a trellis or fence. This is resistant to bean rust.
Kentucky Wonder beans can grow in the U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 9. This means it can grow anywhere in Texas since the hardiness zone spectrum covering Texas ranges from 6 to 9B. Kentucky Wonder is sturdy enough to survive the hot Texas summer that is why it used to be called Texas Pole.
Pesticide is necessary to treat common pests that attack Kentucky Wonder. It is common to see Japanese beetles causing damage to your Kentucky Wonder bean. To rid Kentucky Wonder beans of Japanese beetles, use pyrethrin, which is a combination of six chemicals (pyrethrin I, pyrethrin II, cinerin I, cinerin II, jasmolin I, and jasmolin II). An organic version of pyrethrin involves the use of chrysanthemum flowers. When using pyrethrin, make sure to mix 7.5 to 15 oz of concentrate in 5 gallons of water and apply enough to cover the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Also, the use of a fungicide is advisable if spots appear on leaves or bean pods indicating molds, a bacterial disease, or wilt diseases.
The Kentucky Wonder bean traces its origins in Peru and Mexico as well as in other Central American countries. Mexico has been growing this type of bean as far back as 7,000 years ago. The cultivation in Peru started earlier, as far back as 8,000 years ago.
Fresh green pole beans are usually sold in plastic packs. There are also canned and jarred green pole beans. It is impossible to determine if the type of green bean used in a canned, jar, or packed green beans is a Kentucky Wonder cultivar if you are buying commercially processed and produced green beans found in supermarkets and groceries. But if you are buying from a local farmer who sells his harvest in the farmers market, they can tell you what cultivar was used to produce the green beans.
Enjoying Kentucky Wonder Beans
The Kentucky Wonder bean is considered an all-purpose bean that tastes great when eaten fresh. Fresh Kentucky Wonder pole snap beans are great to eat when cooked, but you can also eat this as a dry bean. If you eat dried Kentucky Wonder beans (as shell beans), you will notice that it tastes like pinto beans.
If you feel discomfort or you sense that something is wrong after eating green pole beans like the Kentucky Wonder, consult your doctor immediately. While green beans in general are healthy, some claim they have experienced digestive problems after eating these. Also, eating green beans should come with caution for those with mineral deficiency.
You can put fresh beans in plastic bags or other containers and place them in the refrigerator. Keep them there for as long as one week and make sure to cook them after seven days. If you need to store them for longer, you can or freeze them.
The Kentucky Wonder bean is easy to cook. If you are thinking of cooking Kentucky wonder beans, here are some suggestions. You can blanch or steam fresh beans and toss them with cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, or in olive oil with ground pepper and Parmesan cheese which you will then roast until crispy. You can also saute these or add this to a stew or soup.
Kentucky Wonder bean is a crunchy, low-calorie food. Eating Kentucky Wonder beans allows your body to absorb protein, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene which this green bean cultivar contains, along with other trace nutrients. Eating Kentucky Wonder beans can help you in your effort to lose weight. It can also help keep your heart healthy. The protein helps our body to have healthy bones, hair, organs, and muscles. The vitamin C it provides helps improve our immune system, while the vitamin A it gives us helps us maintain good eyesight. It has manganese which helps our body heal wounds faster.