Friday 19 September 2008

Mellow September


I'm really enjoying this gentle and mild patch of weather, neither too hot nor too cold and sweetly nostalgic for summer while the fruit ripens, the leaves colour and the nights become chilly in preparation for autumn.

how many beans?

The experiment with the Runner Beans White Spanish is now complete. The plants grew vigorously and well and seemed to make a good set of pods although many shrivelled before maturing. I'm not sure what caused that, possibly the terrible summer, maybe just poor soil and inadequate moisture.

The pods that did set were short and rough. Pleasant enough to eat when young as sliced runners but quickly toughening up and developing strings. We didn't eat many young so that we could maximise our crop of huge white beans. With only two or three beans per pod we needed all the pods we could get. And huge the beans are, as the picture above shows.

I'm still working on the definitive recipe for "Greek Beans" which was the incentive for growing such large white beans but the beans themselves have a good mild flavour, and a pleasant texture with enough bite to satisfy. I think we will grow them again. They do nearly everything we require from a 'butterbean' without the temperature requirements of lima beans or the relatively small seed size of normal runners. I would point out though that Runner Bean Painted Lady, the bicoloured flower runner, has beans that I think are nearly as large. The seeds are very attractively mottled brown and white and the cooking quality is good. Worth trying if you don't want to multiply your orders to seedsmen.

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