Friday, December 19, 2014

Beans Beans the magical fruit...the more you eat....

Well I am sure all of you remember that little rhyme.
Here is Ralph's latest and its about beans!

Men are whimps. Fiona wanted me to do this thing on the beans we grew last summer, so here I am. I am still on this Bill Best and Sustainable Mountain kick. I just like the idea of using things that just work and Sustainable is in this category. Mr. Best has a “Medley” pack. His packs of seeds are small and “expensive” - $6.00. They are to get you started so you can save your own seeds. Anyway, the Medley is for those who are decision challenged. It is a collection of “leftovers”? I'm not sure how or what gets into it. It seems they are filling an order here and there and beans are left over. The left overs go into a jar or bowl. At the end of the day, the jar is shaken or tumbled or the bowl is stirred or something, and the result is bagged as medley packs. However they do it, when you buy a Medley Pack, you get a collection of different varieties of beans.

 The Medley Pack

There is no guarantee of what will be in the pack. It will just be a variety of beans. And they don't tell you what is in the pack. It is your guess. And that is all you can do, just guess. The point is: Don't eat all of the beans off of a vine. If you eat it and it is really good, save some of the beans for next years seed. You might not know its name, but you will know that it is good and you want to eat more of them. It is up to you to save the seed. Or, next year you can buy one pack of every bean he offers. That way, you can learn its name. We had several Medley Packs and enjoyed them. We got one Medley Pack free with every six packs of seeds we ordered. We mixed the different beans together and ate them that way. They were really good that way. We weren't worried about the names. (I had ordered one of everything (almost) and wasn't worried about saving the seeds.) Well, that is a little bit of a fib. I didn't order one of everything, but I did order about fifty different varieties – one little pack of each. Most of them, I didn't have room for and we hope to try them this coming summer. We should have beans galore! The extra seeds are sorted and in the freezer awaiting planting. But, of the fifty plus varieties we ordered, we did plant several to just get a feeling of what we had awaiting us.

  The above photo is from Mr. Best's website. I believe his bean towers are 15 foot tall. Pole beans will climb for the stars, but do just fine on a trellis or teepee. I ran a trellis on 10 foot t-posts. In no time they were over the top and then just dropped back down to the wire and the other plants and went horizontal.

There is a Lazy Housewife Bean. Will for me, there is the Lazy Picker Beans. I love Dade, Rose, and Goose Beans from Sustainable. Not only were they great eating, but they were a pickers dream. For all three varieties, the beans were fat and long and plentiful. I tied a five gallon bucket around my waist with an old belt for hands free operation. I hardly had to move. Pick, pick, pick and go to the house! Job done!!! I like my beans with beans in them, not just pods. And these were tender and had the beans in them. And most of the beans were at least 10 to 12 inches long.

An example of the Dade Beans.

They are definitely on the list for another run. Big, plentiful, and great tasting. Just my kind of bean. Fiona says they retain their taste well from the freezer. About the best she has ever had. They also canned well. No disappointments. And, she says, they were a joy to prepare for freezing or canning because they were so big. Just a few and the jar was full. Because of their size, they were easy to see on the trellis and they were easy to pick without tearing the vines up.
Fiona has a friend in Kentucky. Her maiden name is Saylor. One of the beans we grew was “Saylor”. Thankfully, the Saylors were a wonderful bean and Fiona was able to tell her friend that “of course they were good, they were a Saylor”. Her friend was quite pleased. They were a regular bean with less of a bean in them and regular size. They had the tenderness and flavor that we look for in a bean. They are definitely on our grow list. We like stringless, but are not hung up on that if it has superior flavor. We will do trade offs. Neither of us remember if Saylor was stringless or not. It is on our list for flavor. If we have to string it, so be it.

The Saylor Bean seed, behind Ralph's hand you can see some of the bean seed packets.

In house hunting, we tell people the house is important. But, if the land doesn't meet our needs, it doesn't matter if it has the Biltmore Mansion on it, we're not interested. The land is the most important for us. We can live with less of a house. Our garden is the same way. We are not adverse to growing fifty varieties of beans or a hundred varieties of tomatoes in order to find the five or six that we consider the best for our tastes and needs. We do require open-pollinated varieties, no hybrids or GMO's need apply. We will try new varieties each year to go up against our tried and trues. Who knows, we may find a lost treasure out there somewhere.

Have a good day and count your blessings. And remember, you wouldn't have those blessings without God.


  1. I enjoy seeing how other folks pick out their seeds and why. Thanks for the bean tour.


  2. I inherited some purple pole beans for this coming growing season - I have always grown bush beans, but picking them is a pain! I'm looking forward to beans on a trellis. I wish I had acres of garden just for beans...

  3. We were just thinking of how many beans we could plant on the 97 acres!
    They are an underutilized vegetable and such an incredible storage resource.