Beans of all types are staples for us here. The plants require minimal care and fertilizer is not necessary. In fact, they are actually good for the soil. All you need to do after sowing is harvest them when they are ready. There are myriad types and varieties to choose from but if you're like me, you find a few that you like and you stick with them. We grow favas, Chinese long beans, Pole and bush beans, both French filet and standard, fresh shelling beans and dried beans.
taste experiences of the summer garden.
Chinese long beans were tried with a specific purpose in mind. Thai Green Beans with Pork and Chiles. To make it authentically, you should use long beans. Long beans are best fried as opposed to steamed or boiled. They are a long season crop that likes heat and long days. Not something we are known for here in Northern Minnesota. My first attempts at growing them produced mixed results. A couple of years ago, I switched the location in the garden and I've had good crops every year since.
2015 was the year I decided to try to conquer dried beans. I had a hunch I could be successful even though they too benefit from a long season. I chose an easy to grow variety called 'Good Mother Stallard'. I got a crop and decided to try some other varieties this past year. We do not live in a place that is ideal for dried beans. Dried anything, for that matter but the experiment worked out well and I got a crop from each of the varieties I tried. 'Tiger's Eye', 'Peregion', 'Cannellini' and the aforementioned 'Good Mother Stallard' are the varieties I tried. The 'Cannellini' beans were the big question mark as they are a 100 day bean. Oddly enough, they performed the best and were the easiest to handle and process. Our short season and cool, damp autumns are not conducive to finishing dried bans. This year I had to harvest before they were completely ready but was able to finish drying them indoors.
|'Good Mother Stallard'|
|2016 dried bean harvest|
It's always good to have success whenever you are trying something new. It keeps you energized. Having beans available of varying kinds throughout the year also keeps you energized. They are all easy to grow and as you can see, there is a lot more to beans than just green beans. If you want to broaden your horizon, try some of these more unusual types. I will try these dried bean varieties again next year and I may even add one to the mix but for now, I'm thinking of the dishes I will use these guys in. Bean soup? Frijoles? Baked Beans? I have never tried making Cassoulet........ Hmmmmm.