Hills of beans 2006

2006 was the Year of Beans here at Old Vines. Photos above: Tongue of Fire (dry bush); Scarlet Runner blossoms (pole); Cardinal cowpea (pole or bush); Red-seeded Asparagus long beam blossom (pole); King of the Garden lima (pole)

Legumes serve lots of purposes, and lots of dishes. I started with peas and favas, and ended the year with limas and a ton of dried beans. In the middle were succession plantings of bush beans (both green and fresh shell) and single plantings of pole beans (runners, cowpeas and regular “green” beans). It’s a sad day when the fresh beans end, but then again, it won’t be long until pea and fava planting begins again. I use species-specific inoculants, I mulch, and I succession plant to time the harvesting/eating.

I absolutely adore beans, and I don’t play favorites. This year’s end found us eating cowpeas (black-eyed are a variety, but I used cardinal and holstein) and collards in Hoppin’ John.

Here’s the list:

Dried, succession-planted bush beans
Cranberry Fall
Old-Fashioned Soldier
Tongue of Fire
Flageolet (Flagrano)
Jacob’s Cattle
Henderson’s Bush lima

Succession-planted “green” bush beans
Romanette (Italian-style flat bean)
Kentucky Wonder
Yellow Wax
Blue Lake
Roma II

Pole beans (fresh, dried and in-between shell)
Trionfo Purple-podded pole
Scarlet runner
Red-seeded Asparagus long bean
Henderson’s Black Valentine (green bean and dried)
Kentucky Wonder/Old Homestead
King of the Garden Lima

Cowpeas (they were great last year, which was drier/hotter. This year, I harvested maybe a pound.)
Kirby’s Whipporwill
Black Crowder

Lincoln (shell, trellised)
Little Marvel (shell, bush-like)
Burpeeana Early (shell, trellised)
Sugar Snap (edible shell)

Broad Windsor (two sowings: late one never bloomed due to ridiculously early fall frost)

7 responses to “Hills of beans 2006

  1. You grew all those beans/peas last year? Wow. I am impressed. I need to commit to sucession planting. I throw everything in the ground at once and am overwhelmed several weeks later and half of it goes to waste. All available from Fedco I presume?

  2. Holy crap. And I thought I grew a lot of beans. Maybe I’ve just got less variety, more volume?

  3. You’re probably more about volume than me, Liz; don’t you worry! I have raised beds so things “have” to be thought out; it’s kind of a puzzle. Which is why I don’t get overwhelmed, Meredith…I stagger the plantings so that every time I come out to the garden I have something to expect…and something to do, whether it’s planting, watching, harvesting, or removing spent plants. It keeps me sane.

  4. Oh, yeah, Meredith: some of the seeds came from Fedco, the cowpeas came from Baker Creek, and Johnny’s and Pinetree and my local farm feed/seed place rounded out the rest of ’em.

  5. Wow! How much space did you devote to the humble bean? I am planning a bunch o’ beans in 2007. Dry beans have become a passion in the kitchen, and I am ready to take it to the garden now!

  6. How do you keep the rabbits from eating all your beans? I’d love to plant more beans but the rabbits eat the young plants as fast as they come up!

  7. No bunnies here, Carol. I guess I’m lucky. It’s out in the middle of a field and they’d have to hop a long way to get to it. And I plant things fairly intensely in the beds, Stacie. Dried beans are planted 2-4″ apart in rows about 9-12″ apart. The beds are pretty fertile so I don’t worry much about crowding them.

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