In addition to the joy I get from my flower gardens, I love being able to go into my own yard and pick vegetables for dinner. One of the easiest things that I have found to grow are Bush Beans. Unlike pole beans they do not require any special structures. They grow about 30 cm high and produce lots and lots of beans. If you are very organized, it is worth planting new batches about every two weeks so you spread out your harvest and you can enjoy fresh beans for a month or six weeks. The big caveat with beans is that they are best planted when the soil is warm, so I waited until nearly June to plant my first crop.
Last year I purchased this package of tricoloured seeds. Of course you can tell from the seeds whether you can expect yellow, green or purple beans.
I planted the seeds in front of a south facing fence that received full sun. The seeds sprouted within ten days.
They grew with little intervention on my part, save having run the weeping hose down the middle to water them most days.
Then about six weeks or so, they began to flower. They really filled in the empty spaces in my garden quite nicely with a beautiful green ground cover.
At about nine weeks, we were able to begin harvesting. I think I might have planted them a little too close together, but they seemed to do alright.
I was able to harvest at least three times from these plants. The results were beautifully colourful. The purple ones are my favourite.
What to do with all those beans, especially if you plant multiple times? Bush beans seem to freeze well and I was able to share lots with the office. My all time favourite recipe though is for spicy Szechuan Green Beans courtesy Gwendolyn Richards of the Calgary Herald. It smells amazing when you fry up all my favourite things: garlic, ginger in some sesame oil, then topped off with some toasted sesame seeds.
Interestingly, the purple beans turn a shade of green when sautéed this way. Enjoy!