Last year, I wrote a post about the beans I was going to be growing… Which ended up not being a thing, because life got a little difficult with the shoulder out of service (tore part of my rotater cuff in my right shoulder and was basically one-armed until August)… This year, I am ACTUALLY growing them. They have all been planted, so I’m not even jumping the gun on this one. The first plants are starting to poke their heads through the soil, so I thought this would be as good of time as any to write a dedicated bean post.
Lets start with the bush beans, which were all sown on June 4th.
Contender – I picked these ones for the picture on the seed packet. The beans are a beautiful green, and nice and straight. The back of the packet states: “Contender is a definite prizewinner. A short season variety ideal for cooler climates, this bush type produces abundant quantities of stringless pods. Pick pods when 5-6″ for best taste.”
Amethyst Purple Stringless Filet – I picked these, simply because they were purple. The packet describes them as “Beautiul oval shape beige seeds in a dark purple, smooth, straight and long 5-6″ pod. Stringless. High resistance to Bean Common Mosaic. Dwarf Bush habit. Very popular is soups and salads. Has a creamy texture and also good in salsa.”
Greencrop – I picked this variety because they grow a little longer than the others, and are great for a wide variety of things. “An abundant crop of tasty beans on prolific bush plants. Long 6-8″ beans are perfect for fresh use, canning, freezing or frenching.”
Tendergreen Improved – I’ve had these in my seed stash since 2012. I can’t really say why I chose them, because it was so long ago. The back of the package says ” Tender, smooth, very meaty green bean. Extremely popular with gardeners because of its resistance to disease, heat tolerance and prolific yields. 6″ long, straight pods make this an ideal candidate for fresh table use or for freezing.”
Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco – These looked interesting, so I figured I would give them a shot. “A great tasting bean variety. Straight pods with splashes of red and yellow make it a perfect selection. High yielding!”
So far, there is not a lot to say about them. Next year, if I really like them, I will probably pick up 2 packages of the Purple and Borlotto varieties, as there was not a whole lot of seeds in the package. Hopefully we have a bumper bean crop this year.
Do you have any favorite bush bean varieties that I should try for next year? Put them in the comments section below.
Onto the Runner/Pole beans now.
Scarlet Runner – (Sown on May 31) McKenzie Seeds sells this both as a a vegetable and as a flowering vine. The vegetable version of the package describes it as “Very unique! Brilliant scarlet flowers that attract hummingbirds contrast attractively against the dark green foliage. All this and edible too! The vines provide an extremely high yield of delicious 8-10″ snap beans. Very tender when cooked. Seeds can also be dried. Harvest when young. Climbs 6-10′.” The flowering vine version of the package describes: ” This full leaved vine is a vigorous climber bearing beautiful brilliant scarlet flowers that attract hummingbirds. Excellent for covering fences, arbors and poles. Harvesting the delicious young beans encourages flowering. Beans are very tasty and tender when picked early.”
(sorry I forgot to add a picture of these before I tossed the empty seed packets.)
Kentucky Wonder Wax (Pole) – (Sown May 31). Why did I pick this kind? I wanted a yellow bean variety and these were the ones my hand reached for. Package describes: “A delicious home garden variety, best when pods are picked young. Pods are round, 8″ long with a creamy, light yellow color. Use fresh or frozen.”
Pinto – (Sown June 10). I picked these just because they are pinto beans. The seed packet description: “The pinto bean is an oval, multicolored bean often used in Mexican cuisine. Easy to grow and provides excellent nutritional value. Grow in full sun and well drained fertile soil. Incorporate organic matter into the soil at planting and fertilize again as flowering and bud-set begins. Dry bean do require a longer growing season as you harvest them at full maturity. Use either fresh or dried. Staking is recommended (pole type).”
Trionfo Violetta (Sown June 14) – I chose these because they are another purple variety. McKenzie seeds describes them as: “A very popular European variety. This stringless variety produces deep purple pods measuring 6″ long. Beans turn green when cooked.”
Smeraldo (Sown June 14) – One look at the picture and you could tell I picked these because they are so different from the others I am growing. The back of the seed packet states: “Smeraldo produces an abundance of medium flat stringless pods. This terrific bean has a very distinct and wonderful flavor.”
Last but definitely not least, the Broad Beans.
Windsor – I picked these up, because of all the English YouTube gardeners I watch. Everyone raves about Broad Beans. The package description reads: “Prolific yielder. Long 6-8″ pods with 4-6 large, flat beans inside. Delicious when cooked, slices, used in soups or casseroles. Tolerant of frost, so can be sown as soon as ground can be worked. Pick when plump and cook like peas or Lima beans. Fragrant flowers.”
If you have any tips or tricks, or recipes, especially for the broad beans, please leave them in the comments section below. I could use all the help and encouraging as possible. Here is to 2014 being the year of the beans (and tomatoes, and corn and pumpkins and carrots and leeks and parsnips and all the other things I am trying this year). I will try and make a bean-specific follow-up post to this after they have done some growing, but until then, follow along in my “greenhouse garden” updates.
One last little piece of information. All of these seeds are from McKenzie seeds. This is not a sponsored post. They probably don’t even know I exist. They are just the most available seed company, since they have seeds in nearly every store. Also, because they are based in Manitoba, I have a little more faith that these are chosen to withstand the prairie weather.