Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Green fashion

I guess I should've paid more attention to the description when I bought bean seeds this year - otherwise I wouldn't have been surprised when I started seeing this:

The top bean is actually very immature, and left on the vine, will probably get double that length!  I've been trying to pick them about the size you see there, or maybe half-again as long.  Much longer than that and they also get a bit tough.  I don't even know what variety it is, and the bed is so overgrown with beans, corn, squash etc that I can't find the tag.

The next bean down is a nice, manageable bush bean.  Name - also unknown.  These guys are actually about done - I'm guessing pole beans tend to grown for a longer season, while I know bush beans kinda fizzle out after awhile.  You can pick them for a month or two, and then the beans start getting misshapen as they grown, and you may as well yank the plants out and, if there's still time, replant.

And the bottom one?  ALSO name unknown (seriously - gotta find those plant tags!), and also a pole bean.  It's growing at the opposite end of the bed as the long one, and both varieties are yanking down the tops of the corn I have them climbing (throws a monkey wrench in the whole Three Sisters planting!).  This variety is flatter, and is the only bean I have growing this year that's shown any signs of needing de-stringed, and that's really only if I let them get too mature.

I am NOT a fan of stringy beans - nothing like having a wad of green dental floss ball up in your mouth while you're trying to eat your beans.  My method of harvesting beans is to break them off at the growing tip of the bean, on the bean-side of where it connects to the stem.  I think some folks break the stem, and then have that extra work in the kitchen.  No thanks.  I want to harvest them and then they should barely need a washing before being cooked.

I've got a couple more varieties coming up and only just starting to form their beans.  They'll wrap up the bean-growing season before we start getting frosted.  Both took a lot of abuse from the rabbits before I wrapped the beds in chicken wire.  One was a small sampling of the green and yellow varieties of Sultan's Crescent - a gift from Kelli at Chicken Thistle Farm this spring.  Small detail that I missed...these are a pole/climbing bean, which I did not realize...and now they're climbing up and through the chicken wire, and some have now shot through the nearby hydrangea tree (see picture above).  Totally crazy!  They've only just started producing beans - I only found a few, which Daisy and I split raw in the garden.  I'm thinking they have a beanier taste than most of the other varieties I've grown this year, which is a good thing.  I feel like our beans this year just haven't been "beany enough", and may need to swap up varieties next year (of course, knowing what I'm growing this year would help!).

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