Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Feast or famine

Growing your own vegetables usually means having none or too many. Our pole beans are now in full production. We had visitors last week, and we were not able to pick beans when they should have been picked.  Now some of them are too big, which means sorting.

Pole beans











This morning, I picked them all, except for the very small ones. Then I sorted them in two batches, the ones small enough to be eaten fresh which are in the bowl below (much of it I give away, some get frozen) and the big ones (in the cardboard box) which, for the most part, end up on the compost heap. The large ones could be left on the vine to dry and be used later on as dry beans, but it is too early for that. When the beans start to dry, the vine stop producing. I will let some dry on the vine later on in the season.





Before I compost the big bean pods, I shell some of them. These small shelled beans are very nice in a soup or a stir fry. However, it is a long and tedious job. I ended up not doing all of them, since even if the pods are too big and tough to eat fresh, in most of them the beans are too small to bother shelling.



At this stage, most of the varieties I grow are green and indistinguishable one from the other, like the green ones in the following picture, one of which is Spanish Musica. Once dry though, they all look different. However, one variety easy to identify is the purple "cosse violette" (second from the right in the picture below). This is a French heirloom from the 19th century, and a tasty, tender bean. It turns green when you cook it. The patterned one, second from  the left, is an other heirloom variety called "Rattlesnake".  Spanish Musica, is a variety you have to keep and eye on as it gets tough quickly. I grow it, because it has the great advantage of ripening almost 2 weeks before any of the others.


Rattlesnake beans (2nd from left), Cosse violette (2nd from right)

16 comments:

  1. I'm dealing with a glut of cherry tomatoes; it's always impossible to predict what will produce too much and what won't get going! It's a shame you aren't near enough to swap some!

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  2. Every night it's squash and green beans for supper. The cookerer had mercy tonight--bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches; green beans off to the freezer.

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  3. We like Scarlet Runners. We've grown them on the front porch railings in previous summers. Passersby are amused when they notice the beans hanging amidst the pretty red flowers.

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  4. Nice to see you have a good harvest and some to share with. I don't grow much vegetables, mainly flowers, but I have salads and radish plus some herbs.

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    1. Hi Helene. Thank you for your visit. Vegetable do take a lot of room. I also grow a lot of lettuce. The variety I like best is Kagraner Sommer 2. It is beautiful as well as delicious.

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  5. Oh how I wish I could grow vegetables, especially summer vegetables like beans. I used to love eating them right off the plant in my mother's garden. You're lucky (and talented) to be able to grow them.

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  6. Great bean collection, Alain. I have become fond of a variety called Emerite. It produces a long slender stringless bean that stays edible a very long time. Though in my wee garden it rarely has the chance to age. I freeze green beans for winter, so many go there. The crop this year is excellent.
    I am fond of the green bean salad that Edna Stabler popularized and is often served around here.

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  7. Wonderful beans Alain! We're just about to harvest our peas and hope to start eating beans in a week or two. First time growing both so looking forward to them!

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  8. I think we're growing the same purple beans you are. :o) Ours also turn green when you cook them. Our beans had a slow start because the bunnies kept eating the seedlings. Your harvest looks like the beginning of a delicious dinner.

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  9. I've got over-mature pods too. Thanks for the suggestion of shelling them. I also have some purple beans of unknown origin. It's disappointing that they turn green when cooked but a neighbour told me that if you are blanching them for freezing, the point at which they change colour is when they are done.

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  10. We've grown Cosse Violette in the past. I like that they are easy to spot when picking. This year our purple French bean variety is Royalty.

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    1. What would you say is your best variety? The new one I tried this year is Meraviglia de Venizia (a yellow pole bean). I find it a bit disappointing. It is actually pale green (unless it is over-mature) and not that tender.

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  11. Did you mean the climbing runners/ploe or the French/bush beans?

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  12. I mean pole beans. I grow several varieties but like to try a new one each year. If you have a favorite one I would try it next year. Somehow, beans and tomatoes varieties (most vegetables really) seem quite different in Europe and North America compared to perennials which seem pretty much the same on both sides of the Atlantic.

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    Replies
    1. It's hard to choose at the moment Alain but St George is doing well and also tastes good.

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    2. I will look for St George. Thanks

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