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Field of Beans

August 19, 2011

My field of beans

I picked the first green beans this week! Yeah! I spent a few days last week working on the beans: weeding, thinning, and tying things up a bit so I could walk between the beds of beans. While working, I discovered there were some beans just about ready. These first ones are called Provider and they will be the first of many. I planted a lot of beans this year. Here is the run down:

Provider beans

Provider: This is the quintessential green snap bean, that can be planted a bit earlier than other snap beans. I haven’t planted this type since I discovered french filet/haricot vert types, but since it could go out early, I thought it was worth a try. It is the first bean ready and I like it!

Rattlesnake: This heirloom is my first try at pole beans. I hear pole beans have the best flavor, but they don’t produce as much at once, rather more slowly over the whole summer. These are green, with purple streaks. They are good fresh, shelled and dry. We’ll see if there is enough season to try them all three ways this year.

Dragon Langerie: I planted this Dutch heirloom last year, under the name Dragon Tongue. It is a yellow flat bean (wax or Romano), with purple streaks. It is usually eaten fresh, though can also be shelled or kept for dry beans.

Rockwell: This dry bean is an heirloom from Coupeville, Washington, on Whidby Island, where it has been grown since the late 1800’s. I thought it would be fun to try a locally adapted variety of dry bean this year, while I have room!

Moving bean tendrils isn't easy, but the Tiger's Eye are adjusting to a new trellis

Tiger’s Eye: This is another dry bean, an heirloom from Chile and Argentina, also called Pepa de Zeppalo. From the pictures, this should be a beautiful bean: mustard yellow with burgundy swoops. It is good as a shelling bean, too, and great for soups and refried beans. I was a bit surprised by this bean, because even though the catalogs described it as a bush bean, it sure looked like it was trying to be a pole bean, with very long tendrils growing and wrapping around everything in sight. When I did a little more research, I found out that it is a bush bean, but it does have very long tendrils, maybe 2 to 3 feet, but not the 8 or 10 feet that a pole bean will climb. Still, I decided to put up a short trellis for them, otherwise, they would become a tangled mess.

Tavera: Finally, my favorite type of bean, a french filet or haricot vert type. These snap beans are small and tender, perfect for eating fresh. These need some warm temperatures to germinate well, so are not ones to plant too early. I got three plantings of these in, to keep them going as long as possible.

The first planting of Tavera beans are blooming and starting to form beans

I didn’t actually get any of the early beans in early. All the beans got a late start in our garden this year. I planned a new field for vegetables, where the blueberries used to be. Because of all the spring rain, it took longer to get that field prepared. The plan was to start planting beans the week of May 23, with Provider, Rattlesnake and Rockwell at the top of the list, and to continue planting a new bed or two every three weeks, with the last going in the week of July 25. The reality was most of the beans went in the week of June 20th, four weeks late. I planted two more times, with the last bunch going in August 2, a week later than planned. Oh well. We didn’t have them as early as planned, but we have them now and they should continue the rest of summer!

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