|Top: Speedy. Bottom: Royal Burgundy.|
I planted three varieties of beans this year; Speedy bush, Royal Burgundy bush, and Fortex pole. On the whole, all three had excellent germination rates. All three grew at nearly the same pace, the RB had the first beans ready, followed a day or so later by the Speedy, and several days later by the Fortex.
My observations (remember this is based on my garden for 2012 and may be completed different in your garden or in a different year) of Fortex: good flavor, smaller harvests over a longer time period, had more pests (japanese bean beetles, leaf beetles). I planted equal amounts of each bean type, but the Fortex have produced far fewer beans at this point than the other two varieties. I would recommend them for fresh eating over freezing or canning, because they are long beans that tend to twist and curl and come in small batches over a longer period of time.
Speedy is a bush bean with an upright and very small habit. From what I could see no pests seemed to care too much for them, the beetles preferred the Fortex, and the slugs preferred the Royal Burgundy. The beans on these came in all at once and had a very uniform straight 4" pod. I can't say that the flavors of the beans were noticeably different to me, but I'm not really a bean connoisseur either. They tasted fine. I would recommend Speedy specifically for canning. The pods were consistently straight and just long enough to fit a pint jar, and since they were all harvestable within about a week a large planting would supply all of your canned bean needs in one fell swoop.
Royal Burgundy is another bush bean, but with a much more spread out, almost vining, habit. The slugs loved these, but they were not bothered by the beetles. More effort is needed in the harvesting of RB because of the tangled vines, it's easy to miss beans hiding in the foliage. The primary difference from Speedy is that the beans of RB come in over a longer time period, but they are far more productive. Again, the flavor seems fine to me, I can't say that it lacks compared to the others. Despite the slug damage I have gotten nearly twice as many beans from RB so far as I have from the other two varieties put together. The beans are purple and have a tendency to curl and come in all different sizes and shapes. This habit means i would not suggest them for canning. But for a frozen bean or for fresh eating they are fine.
|One day's harvest of beans, showing the difference in quantity between varieties.|