Sunday, October 19, 2008

Green Beans from the Garden

I had an opportunity to pick the last of my "Blue Lake" green beans today. It is always exciting when I can get in that third crop of beans each year. Boy, are they good. They are also easy to grow! One might even argue that green beans are the easiest of plants to grow in the vegetable garden. Certainly, this plant is a must for the beginning gardener.

I want to take a second and tell you about the type of beans I grow. I am a big fan of heirloom seeds. These are beans that can reproduce successfully, and have been a round a long time. Many of our plants today have been "hybridized" so much, that they loose their ability to successfully reproduce. Many times, the plants will also lose a lot of their original flavor! One only need buy a commercial tomato today to know what I am talking about! There is a whole movement in America to preserve our heirloom crops! I support this. One day, I will blog on it. For now, let me just put in a shameless plug for my favorite supplier of heirlooms seeds from the Ozarks: the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company of Mansfield, Missouri (the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder). You can visit there site at:!

I plant green beans in 4' x 4' sections of my raised bed garden. The seeds need to go in the ground 1", and should be spread 4" apart. I put 9 seeds in one square foot of ground. Keep them watered well. They will grow high, so have something in place for them to climb. I use wire tomato baskets, or I let them climb a stock fence wall built to a height of 4'. Once you see blossoms, you will be ready to pick green beans in around 8-10 days. You can get several pickings out of your planting, if you keep up with the picking. When I quit seeing new blossoms form, I replant. Simple!

My favorite way to store green beans is by freezing them. Snip the ends off a green bean, and break it into bit sized pieces. Blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then, shock the beans by immersing them in ice cold water. After 5 minutes, remove them from the water, and pack in quart size freezer bags. Done! You'll be glad you did!

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