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Heirloom Bean Bounty

Written by Karen on October 10th, 2014.      0 comments



beans border



Heirloom Bean Bounty

What a great vegetable beans are.  They are one of my absolute favourites.  With the huge selection of varieties available to grow from seed, it's difficult to keep to just a few types each year so this blog focuses on the heirloom varieties.



beans in the garden


I first started growing beans because they are direct sow - a great way to start as a beginner gardener.  Every year I still get excited when I see the first pale green shoot unfurling under the soil.   It took me a while to realize that I needed to protect those tender new shoots from the predators in my garden.  So I got creative and cut the top and bottom off some 3 litre juice bottles.  I carefully wedge them into the soil around where I have sown my seed and then hold them in place with a couple of kebab sticks to stop the wind blowing them away.  Ta dahhhh........the slugs and snails and the pesky hungry birds can’t get anywhere near the shoots and the baby plants are protected from the wind.








When it comes to making your bean selection, there are several questions to ask yourself:
 
  1. Do you want a climber/runner or a dwarf variety?
  2. What colour?
  3. Round or flat?
  4. Are you going to eat the bean or do you want to harvest as a dry legume?
Once you have decided on all of the above, you should have narrowed down your selection.  So I am going to some basic information about some of our heirloom beans which may help with your decision making.  Being heirlooms, you can then save your own seed for growing next year as well.
 
Variety Runner or Dwarf Colour Round or Flat Eat pod or Seed Comment
           
GREEN          
Slenderette Dwarf Green Round pod Organic
French Garden Filet Dwarf Green Round Pod Organic Haricot vert classic
Fin de Bagnols Dwarf Green Round Pod Haricot vert classic
Cobra Runner Green Round Pod Organic
Blue Lake Runner Green Round Pod Closest to Fardenlosa
Marconi Dwarf Green Flat pod  
Italian Flat Runner Green Flat Pod Also known as Snow Bean
Scarlet Runner Runner Green Flat Pod  
Painted Lady Runner Green Flat Pod  
Sunset Runner Green Flat Pod  
YELLOW          
Rocdor Dwarf Yellow Round Pod Organic. Black seeds
Roquefort Dwarf Yellow Round Pod Black seeds
Gold Marie Vining Runner Yellow Flat Pod Organic. Romano
Neekar Golden Runner Yellow Slightly flat Pod  
Wonder of Venice Runner Yellow Flat Pod Also known as Rheinegold
PURPLE/RED          
Albenga Dwarf Speckled Flat Pod  
Purple Tee Pee Dwarf Purple Flat Pod  
King of the Blues Runner Purple Round Pod  
ASIAN          
Yard Long Red Noodle Runner Burgundy Round Pod Organic. Asian
Yard Long Runner Green Round Pod Asian
HARVEST LEGUME          
Cannellino Dwarf Green Round Seed Organic. White kidney bean
Jackson Wonder Pole Runner Speckled Flat Seed Organic. Speckled lima bean
Lima del Papa Runner Green Flat Seed Red speckled lima bean
 
 


 
Bean flowers

MY EXPERIMENT

I know some of our customers agree with me, when I offer my opinion that the Scarlet Runner type beans have the most flavour.  I realise some of you just enjoy the smoother texture of other beans and stringless varieties, but I have found that if we harvest the scarlet runners early enough, they don’t require destringing. 
A couple of years ago when Gerard expanded the bean range to include Painted Lady and Sunset, I set up more trellis and grew all three varieties (scarlet runner types) together.  The view from my kitchen window was amazing when they were all in flower - an added bonus.  The beans themselves were all very similar with great taste, heavy cropping and good for freezing.
 

runner beans


IS IT WARM ENOUGH?

Some of the varieties require a bit of patience before planting.  The Asian style beans need soil temperatures to be at least 20°C and the Neekar Golden Runner needs warm soil too.  So wait until November before sowing these in a nice sunny position in your garden.




saladRAW OR COOKED?

Do you always cook your beans?  We eat a lot of raw beans in our household as I throw them in salads all the time.  We also tend to stand out in the garden eating them from the vines and have found the dogs love them too.  A wee while ago we received quite a few calls from concerned customers regarding some hullabaloo in the media about being poisoned by eating raw beans.  This is the first we had heard of it so we did a bit of research and it appears you would need to eat a whole bucket load in one sitting for there to be any adverse affect, so my family will carry on eating them in our salads.


 
If like me, you reluctantly buy the beans at the supermarket because you crave a feed of them, and then find them terribly disappointing for taste, get some bean seeds sown now.  Nothing beats the flavour of beans grown in your garden and picked on the day!  Now, which one to choose?????
 

legumes