The Day of the Bean

Thanks for Lori and Robbie for hosting The Day of the Bean, a blogger action day to celebrate International Year of the Pulses.

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As a gardener I love beans; as a cook and consumer I love beans. Beans are versatile, come in a range of varieties, and you can add them to nearly any dish.

Our first bean crop every year are broad beans. Usually I forget to plant them in November and start them off in February. However, in November 2015 I actually remembered and so my beans are currently about 30cm high and begging to be planted out into the polytunnel from the pots I started them off in! Usually we can harvest in early July but this year, with my head start, (and depending on the weather) we may have some by late May!

The other beans I grow are dwarft purple beans. Usually these crop well inside and out but last year they did not respond well to our cool wet summer and so I had to rely on the greenhouse crops. They look great, though fade to dark green on cooking.

Runner beans can crop really well but again in summer 2015 they really suffered, but the previous year we had a bumper crop. Generally though you can’t fail with runner beans and this year I will make sure to have some in the tunnel or greenhouse as well as outside.

Finally, I also grow climbing french beans. Again they do better in a warm summer and so last year they did poorly outside (not helped by slugs!). I did manage to get a late crop from some later plantings  in the greenhouse.

Of course the other huge benefit of growing beans is that they fix nitrogen, and so are essential for a good crop rotation in any vegetable garden. So even if you don’t get a good crop you still get nitrogen!

And finally if you only need one reason to grow beans then think bees. Because bees love bean flowers!

Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)

Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)

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26 thoughts on “The Day of the Bean

  1. Robbie

    Happy Bean Day!Beautiful post as usual:-) I have tried broad beans in our garden but I have never been able to get it right. Do you think our Midwest, zone 5 single digit weather will not work? I have to use my dried beans for winter use but do have some garden beans in the freezer. I have to admit my frozen garden beans just never taste as good as they do fresh from the garden. Love the purple beans and I agree, I wish they would keep their color when cooked:-)

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      I agree frozen bean are never as good but I love them in stews etc. The french beans actually freeze better I think. I wonder if your summers are too warm for broad beans. I’d try starting as early as you can, or even if you had somewhere to overwinter them in pots try and get them going in November as I have done this time around. Happy Bean Day:)

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      1. Robbie

        Okay-I’ll try that this next spring. They look interesting and I have heard they are good. I’ll maybe add them to a winter pot closer to the house with protection. How large do the plants get?
        I did freeeze them without blanching them and not washing. Just put them in the bag since they were off the ground and someone suggested to do that-so I did + they were good, but my husband and I decided that they missed that sun flavor-lol-yep, you can taste the sun on your beans fresh from the garden:-)

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      2. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

        That is what my mother-in-law does – I must experiment this summer and see if it makes a difference!

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  2. Julie

    We grow beans here too, mainly Borlotti and Climbing French. I persevere with Dwarf French but the battle with slugs is putting me off growing them this year. I tried a white bean, the name escapes me for drying and storing two years ago and may try again this year but feel that takes up a lot of space for the return but wish I could find a way of growing more. A polytunnel is on my wish list, that must really help extend your season.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      The poly is great – I would say a necessity particularly when we get a wet summer. Am aiming to make as much use of it as I can this year! I tried a drying bean once without much success so I think I am going to stick to green ones!

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  3. aranislandgirl

    Please god, we’ll get that warm summer we are so deserving of! Had to empty the rain gauge today as we had reached five inches already this month. This weeks frost was lovely wasn’t it? I took some pics and haven’t gotten to post them yet….may do so now.

    I love your bee photos. You could do a lovely coffee table book with your collection, an educational one for sure. I’d buy it.. Hope the week is going well for you.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      We’ve frost again this morning, it is good to see real winter weather! Thank you so much for your kind comments about my photos:)

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  4. Pingback: Bean There, Cooked That | What the Ducks!

    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Beans will work great in pots – the runner beans and climbing beans should give good return (in beans as well as bee visits) – just keep them well watered!

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