Sanctuary Gardener’s Favorites: Legumes

SG Favs - Legumes

Welcome to the second installment of my four-part series, Sanctuary Gardener’s Favorites. (If you missed the first part, learn about my favorite tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in my post on nightshades.) Today, I will share with you my favorite legumes to grow in my Southern garden.


The legume family includes beans, peas, peanuts, and even clover. Although I am still trying to find my favorite variety of peas, I do have definite favorites in the snap bean and lima bean categories.


Black Valentine

I planted Black Valentine beans the year I started my southern garden, and I’ve been planting that variety for my green beans ever since. The plants hold up very well in the South Carolina heat, and they are very productive! Not only do I harvest basketfuls of beans for four to six weeks, I also am able to plant a second crop in the late summer.

This heirloom variety grows 5-6 inch pods that are tender and tasty. If left on the vine, the light green pods produce black seeds that can be used as dry beans. (I haven’t tried them that way yet; I may just have to do that next year.)

Black Valentine beans

Black Valentine snap beans

Beurre de Rocquencourt

This French heirloom is another variety that holds up to our summer heat. A prolific producer, each plant grows long, waxy yellow pods with a great flavor. The yellow color holds up to cooking, too. This variety was my first wax bean, and it has been in my garden every year. (I plant a second crop of this bean in the late summer, as well.)

Beurre de Rocquencourt wax beans

Beurre de Rocquencourt wax beans


Henderson Lima Beans

Commonly called “butter beans” here in the South, these small, tender shell beans are the absolute tastiest lima beans I’ve ever eaten. My grown son has always hated lima beans because they’re large and tough, but he loves these beans. (If that’s not an advertisement, I don’t know what is.) The compact plants are very productive and produce from maturity to fall frost.

Henderson lima beans

Henderson lima beans

Each pod contains three to four beans which can be cooked as a shell bean or preserved as a dry bean.

Lima bean seeds SG

Henderson Lima beans


As I said above, I haven’t found a favorite variety of peas yet. I’ve tried three different varieties so far, and I’m waiting to see how this third type produces. [UDPATE: For my favorite variety of peas, click here.]

What are your favorite legumes to plant for your hardiness zone? Share your favorites in the comment section; I’m sure there are other readers who would enjoy trying out your faves.



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