Sunday, September 4, 2011

Speaking of Beans....

A few of the jars of green beans I've canned this year

I like green beans.  A lot.  If I could plant only one thing in my vegetable garden, it might be green beans (string beans/snap beans).   I like them frozen.  I like them canned.  I like to eat them, Sam-I-Am.

This year I planted 10 varieties, and a lot of them.  As you can imagine, I've got green beans coming out my ears!  Some years I have problems with bean beetles, but thankfully they've not been a problem this year.  I'm making plans for next year, saving seed and deciding which beans are worth saving and which are not.

Beans worth saving and planting a ton of  next year:  HELDA.  This is the first year I've grown Helda pole beans.  Someone on my organic gardening list mentioned them and they sounded intriguing, so at the last minute I ordered some from Territorial Seeds.  I have nothing bad to say about these beans.  As I mentioned, they're pole beans and quite vigorous growers.  They produce huge pods that don't fill out and get "beany" until late...I really don't like green beans that have big old seeds in them; I'm a pod person.   It's not unusual to get 10 inch beans that are STRINGLESS and tender.  Yes, stringless!  They're a Romano type bean.  Positively lovely!  

 One HELDA pole bean, 10 inches long, not at all unusual!

 HELDA pole bean

Next year I'm going to create an arbor where the beans can grow up and over so that the ripening beans will hang down for ease of picking.  I can see it now....a shady tunnel walk with massive beans within easy reach.  Sigh.  And these beans produce and produce and produce!  One tepee of beans this year has produced an amazing amount of beans for me.

HELDA pole beans are prolific producers!  I planted one tepee of them around a compost bin--here is a "nest" of beans waiting to be picked

SEQUOIA.  I've been growing these beans for quite a few years.  They're a purple-podded bush bean of the Romano type.  Again, stringless.  I honestly don't have the time to fiddle around with stringy beans, so if they're not stringless they don't get planted here again.  I love purple podded beans, which, by the way, turn green once cooked.  They're easy to pick because they stand out from the green foliage, and I'm sure they must have more antioxidants that their green counterparts.  And they're just so cool looking!  Sequoias have a good flavor and don't get overly beany until they get old.

I'm also growing GIANT STRINGLESS , a bush bean, green, and as their name suggests, stringless.  PROVIDER is another that I'll be saving seed for to plant again next year: bush, green, stringless.

Saving bean seeds is a snap.  Simply let the bean grow out and dry on the plant.  Shell the seeds from the pod, let dry a bit further and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, then plant next year and repeat.

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