When faced with the huge variety of seeds available, it can be a challenge to choose only one of each vegetable for your garden. After all, you only need one, right? Well, not so fast!

There are actually a few good reasons to plant a variety of varieties in your garden, especially when you are getting started. There are so many different varieties, because they all thrive under various conditions. Some do better in the hot, humid summers of the Gulf Coast, while others grow better in the moderate temperatures of Oregon. Some are more or less resistant to bugs, which may or may not live in your area. And some do better in clay or sandy soils.

A couple years ago, I decided to plant three different types of pole beans because I wanted to harvest the seeds for cooking a variety of dishes after the green beans were too mature to be picked and eaten as string beans. I chose the Cherokee bean because it had a black seed, the rattlesnake bean because its seed looked a lot like a pinto, and the lazy wife bean because its seed was white. But I received an added bonus.

In the middle of summer when the Japanese beetles arrived for their annual buffet on our Illinois garden, they congregated on the lazy wife beans, almost completely ignoring the Cherokee and rattlesnake beans. My normal modus operandi for killing the beetles is to go outside near sundown with a bucket of soapy water and knock the beetles into the suds. Their infatuation with the lazy wife beans made my job much easier because I knew where to find all of them. The ultimate harvest from the lazy wife was quite a bit smaller than the other beans, but the green beans from the other plants were pristine, because the beetles had ignored them.

At first, I thought that we would not plant the lazy wife again, because they were obviously not at all resistant to the Japanese beetles, but after doing a bit of research, I learned that the idea of planting a sacrificial crop is not a new one. So, last year, we planted the same three types of beans, as well as two new varieties, and the beetles once again lunched on the lazy wife beans and ignored the rest.

Although the lazy wife beans might not be the answer to your gardening problems, if you plant a variety of varieties, you will figure out which ones grow best in your area.

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  • By: Leon Patterson - York PA

    We once ate at a restaurant that had edible flowers on each plate. Ours had nasturtiums on them.
    I have 4 varieties of pole beans, and Lazy Wife is my favorite, but it is different from what I’m reading about and seeing in online catalogs. Mine are 12-13″ long, hence the name.

  • By: Michele

    Where can I buy lazy wife beans I don’t remember seeing any packs for sale anywhere.

    • By: Joel

      I have some lazy wife greasy beans seed I can send u . They are from clay county KY. I have corn field greasy bean seed also they are smallest of the greasy beans

      • By: Mike Tyree

        Hello from Menifee County KY-My neighbor is looking for the “true” Lazy Wife greasy bean. he already has the lazy housewife bean which is easy to find online-can you or anyone else help him get some seed of this smaller pod, rounder seed lazywife greasy beans? Thanks,Mike

        • By: Dr. Brent

          Mike, Try Landreth Seed or Baker Creek Seed Co

  • By: Deborah @ Antiquity

    Although the beetles are once again attacking the lazy wife beans with a passion, it just occurred to me that they are also the first beans to produce. We will be picking our first batch in the next day or two!

  • By: Mark

    We planted Lazy Housewife this year along with other beans. It is a beetle magnet but the beans from it are far superior to the others we planted, Kentucky Wonder, Grady Bailey Greasy, and Nekargold. We will plant it again because of their superior flavor.

  • By: carol cos

    I plant many types of beans every year, the cherokee trail of tears and rattlesnake are some of my standbys. I just bought lazy housewife and I, too live in illinois and deal with the beetles. If this is what I have to do to keep them from everything else I am willing. Thanks for the great info. By the way, I LOVE the cherokee… such a beautiful glossy black and very tasty!

  • By: Susan Spatz

    I planted the "Lazy Housewife" beans last season. As you said, the Japanese beetles were quick to attack, so I went online and looked for a solution and I found one – flour! Apparently, if you sprinkle flour on the leaves the beetles eat the flour and die. So here I am out in the garden with a sifter – needless to say, I got more flour on myself than on the plants, but it worked!

  • By: Darleen Harrigan

    I live in SC, near Charleston. Can't get zucchini to grow. Yet they grow very well at the near by plantation! I've tried for three years now without any luck. Anyone have helpful hints? I come from NJ and back there they grew extremely well.

    • By: Dr. Brent

      Hi, Darleen

      We suggest you post your question in the Beekman 1802 Garden Forums for your zone. Your personal zone expert probably has the answer for you

  • By: Richard

    I was thinking about this story (you told it to me last year, and it stuck like glue) when I was looking at seeds for this year. I am so sick of beans right now… I planted too many last year and filled up the freezer with them. I am probably not going to plant any this year. And for sure no zucchini (I say that every other year).

  • By: Deborah Niemann

    That's great to hear about the nasturtiums, Michael! I'm going to try that this year! I usually plant them in the herb garden.

  • By: Veronica Vatter

    @ Erik, you're welcome :)

    I am hoping tha tmy companion planting will help with that kind of problem

  • By: Erik

    On behalf of all the other lay wives out there, thank you for this much needed recognition of our unique abilities.

  • By: Michael

    I had a similar experience – last year I planted nasturtiums around the bed with all the cabbages in it. I started noticing little tiny holes in the nasturtium leaves. It turns out that cabbage white butterflies like to lay their eggs on nasturtiums – but, at least in my garden, they weren't able to eat more than a tiny hole in the leaf before dying off. I don't know if the nasturtiums don't provide some key nutrient, or what. But I was glad that every tiny hole in a nasturtium was a caterpillar that didn't get to eat my bok choi!

    • By: Dr. Brent

      It's amazing how nature works that way. Every plant looking out for the other in the community. Just like "Neighborhood Watch"

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