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Valena Italian Pole Green Bean

Valena Italian Pole Green Bean

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Valena Italian

This bean is one of a handful of family heirlooms that helped us start the Victory Seed Company. It was handed down to us years ago by Denise's maternal Grandfather, Emilio Valena of Sonoma County, California. He was a first generation Italian-American whose relatives in Cino (Lombardy Region) Italy still grow this variety. Our family had grown this bean for years prior to us sharing it with the gardening public in our first annual seed catalog.

75 to 90 days — 'Valena' is a multi-purpose (horticultural-type) pole bean that is used young as a green bean, at the green shelling stage, and mature as a dry bean. The pods are flat, green and tasty when young turning tan with maroon streaks as they mature. The seeds are large, egg-shaped and tan with darker brown streaks.

The vines need good, tall, strong support as they are very vigorous and very productive. This means they get really heavy towards September! In fertile soil, we have had them quickly top our six foot tall trellis system and double back down about half way. For a lot more information on pole bean support systems, click here. Each packet contains one ounce, which is about 35 seeds.
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Planting Instructions: Beans prefer well-drained, rich soil in a sunny location. Make sure that you keep them well watered in the summer heat.

Don’t bother trying to get an early start with beans – you’ll waste a lot of seed! Beans are a tender vegetable and you should not plant them until all danger of frost has passed and the soil remains above 65ºF. Sow seeds 1½ inches deep, every two to three inches. As they make efficient use of vertical space, provide a trellis. Use string or twine as wire will heat and burn the tender vines.

Pick the pods while young as they are more tender and succulent and less likely to be stringy. For seed saving, allow the pods to fully mature and dry completely out on the vines.
We heard from a gardening friend in Canada about a variety called 'Kahnewake' bean whose seeds appear similar although the vines are reportedly shorter. The undocumented lore is that it arrived in "la Nouvelle-France" (New France) with the Jesuits. In trying to research that variety, its history is a bit elusive and the original source traced back to the Eastern Native Seed Conservancy (closed in 2007).

In the 1931 publication called, "Beans of New York," a comprehensive and well researched catalog of all known bean varieties, a variety called simply 'Italian' is described and a picture of its seed is included. Although the seed looks similar, it is said to only grow to 4-1/2 feet tall.