Sunday, February 6, 2011
Beans with Snap!
It was my childhood bean patch that really got me hooked on gardening. I guess you could say it was a veggie garden, but since 90% of the space was occupied by Top Notch Golden Wax beans, I like to think of it as a bean patch! We did have a row of beets and carrots thrown in for good measure, but it was the beans we all anticipated. Lightly steamed and topped with butter and salt, they were divine! (my mouth is watering just thinking about it!)
Today, I still plant Top Notch Golden Wax, but they're getting harder to find. Halifax Seed is my source and the bush plants produce a generous crop of 5 to 6 inch long flat yellow beans. Back in the garden of my youth, we only seeded one crop. Now, I start planting beans in mid-May and continue seeding until mid-July for months of garden fresh beans. We often pick into late October!
I also grow mostly pole beans now, as they offer a larger harvest from the same amount of space - typically 2 to 3 times as many beans! Fortex, Emerite, Purple Podded Pole and French Gold are my go-to pole beans and we grow them up bamboo teepees, A-frame trellises and the garden fence.
Fortex and Emerite (which I've written about on this blog before) are filet types that can be harvested when they're just 5 inches long and super thin, or 10 inches long and still slender. The interior seeds never get 'beany' and overmature, making them an incredibly high quality snap bean.
Purple Podded Pole is just a fun bean - jewel toned, but turns green when cooked. The kids call them magic beans and the long, flat pods are also extremely meaty.
Owen Bridge of Annapolis Seeds (www.annapolisseeds.com) tells me that I need to grow 'Lazy Housewife', which is his favourite green pole bean. He tells me that the flavour is out-of-this-world! I'll have to add it to my list for this summer.
I'd also like to try the pole bean 'Cherokee Trail of Tears' and 'Tongue of Fire', a bush bean with red streaked pods that hails from Tierra del Fuego, the southern tip of Argentina. We've spent much time in Argentina and I'd love to try this heirloom that was discovered in that region.
I guess my next question is what beans do you like to grow? Do you prefer bush or pole types? Heirloom or hybrid?