Green beans are one of the most popular vegetables,
and with good reason: they are easily grown, beautiful plants and
very versatile in the kitchen.
To beat the scourge of bean beetles, delay your planting until after
the summer solstice (June 21st). This insures that the young plants
will also have the necessary warm temperatures to germinate and thrive.
You may pick off some beetles, but it won't compare with the onslaught
you've fought on early plantings.
If you like to can or freeze your green bean crop, consider the timing
of the harvest so you can stagger it with tomato canning. This
may influence the variety you select too.
If you are a chronic procrastinator, you probably won't like the French
filet beans very well. They demand timely harvest at a very small
size and are not too forgiving of your other pressing chores. If
you, like me, sometimes have to postpone harvest until more urgent chores
are done, try the old standby Tenderette. These beans are delicious
even when large. The vigorous plants are extremely prolific, bushy
If you have a little extra time and like the look of vines, try pole
beans such as Jacob's Cattle bean or runner beans. Be sure to put
them where they won't shade other parts of the garden and use stout poles.
It is hard to imagine how big they will be and how much they will weigh,
especially when laden with beans!
If you are a fan of bean salad, try canning some pickled beans. If
you like wax beans, include them too. I like to combine a can or
two of pickled beans with some canned dried beans for a quick winter
salad. Slice a red onion thinly and add it to the dish.
To can dried beans, soak rinsed beans overnight in water, then drain,
pack to 1 inch below jar shoulder, fill jar with boiling water, and process
90 minutes at 10 lbs in pressure canner. Try garbanzos and kidneys
for a color contrast.
Beans are versatile and nutritious. So get out there and grow