Blue Lake Pole Bean ProblemsFor the second year, some customers have been having problems with Blue Lake Pole Beans. Some percentage of their harvest is flat podded and stringy when mature. This percentage seems to vary from customer to customer.
Thinking last year's problem was a grower mistake we changed growers and the same thing has happened. We have since found out it is happening to other growers in the US and Canada. We currently have three seed producers working on trying to determine what is causing the problem. The bush variety is doing just fine, it is only affecting the pole variety. Our concern is that the variety may be reverting. This happened to our favorite “Oregon Giant” beans just a few years ago…that’s why it is no longer on the market.
If you have experienced this problem, we want to make it right. Just send us the empty packet or a store receipt along with your shipping address (to the address below) and we will be happy to refund your money for the packet of seed you purchased or send you a packet of a different variety this winter after the 2010 crop has been harvested, cleaned, tested and packaged. If you want us to send you a new bean variety, our recommendation would be the variety “Kentucky Blue” which is stringless, and a cross between Blue Lake and Kentucky Wonder. It won an all-American award a few years ago, as being the best home garden bean. Another option would be Blue Lake Bush.
Other packet seed companies are experiencing this same problem. Thus we are suggesting growing a different variety, until this problem gets sorted out.
Blue Lake Pole Beans will be available for the 2010 season, but it is unlikely that this problem will be entirely resolved. Only plant the 2010 Blue Lake Pole beans if you are willing to cull some percentage of off type beans.
Update for 2011 (after harvest): Still seeing some problems this year. Growers continue to work on the problem and believe they have reduced it significantly. Should be less than 10% "off-type beans". We continue to replace or refund as requested. Outlook for 2012 the same or better. We do not believe the problem will be completely resolved, but the percentage involved should be lower. Gardeners should still consider growing other varieties (above) if some variance is not acceptable. One gardener said "The flat podded off-type, while not good as a snap bean, are quite good as a dry bean."
Update for 2014 (after harvest): Looks like the problem may be solved. The beans we planted in the test garden were all OK and we got feedback from one customer with the same results. No complaints this year!
We are very sorry for this Blue Lake Pole bean problem. You can imagine how frustrating it is for us too!
Ed Hume Seeds PO Box 73160 Puyallup, WA 98373