Creating a Life of Plenty

Beans, beans, the musical fruit!


Regardless of their gastro-intestinal effects, beans (broad, pole, bush, etc.) have outstanding nutritional content and keep really well through multiple methods (canning, freezing, drying).  They are high in protein and add body and flavor to any dish.  I eat them raw and par cooked all summer long and freeze a large quantity for use during the cold winters as they add a delightful taste of summer to curries and stews.

Most varieties of beans are very easy to grow.  They require little in the way of extra care, just a rich soil and plenty of water.  Depending on the variety, you may need to provide a bit of structure for them to grow on.  This year I have tried a variety of beans and three different methods of providing structure for the beans.

On the house, which is a south facing exposure, I have placed one of the “twig” hurdles I purchased at a local nursery.  This rambling structure is really pretty in its own right, but also provides ample structure for pole beans.  For this location, I have selected a runner bean called Scarlet Emperor.  This is a vigorous climber that produces magnificent clusters of rich red flowers.  This runner bean has an extremely rich, sweet flavor when picked young; can be shelled for green or dried beans when pods mature in 60-75 days.

In the potager, I employed the makeshift supports I created a couple of years ago from the remnants of screen doors.  This is a completely vertical structure that I planted both yellow wax pole beans as well as Trionfo Violetto, a vibrant purple pole bean.  This structure either due to its completely vertical structure or because of its position behind some squash plants has produced less vigorous growth, but a good supply of mature pods.

Also in the potager I created a line of tee pee or wig wam shapes, the traditional bean trellis.  On this I planted the yellow beans, the purple as well as Blue Lake organic heirloom bean seeds.  The growth has been tremendous as well as a high production of beans.  I will be freezing a lot of them from this structure.

It appears that the classic bean trellis with its angled and horizontal structure has proved the winner from a production perspective with the twig trellis a very very close second.  Try growing beans in your garden; the small investment in time and energy at the beginning of the growing season will pay off big time with an abundance at harvest time!


Happy Gardening!

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