It’s clean up time in the garden. Preparing beds for spring by working in compost, raking leaves into pathways, and collecting spent stalks into piles for next years’ compost are a part of the zen of the season. Communing with nature in the beautiful weather of early fall seems as productive to the psyche as gleaning the last of the produce is to the dinner table. Right now we’re harvesting the last of the purple pole beans.
They’ve served us well this year. It could be either that they grew well, or that we planted lots of them. These were grown from seeds saved from the year before, and there was a large envelope of them. Six tripods and six poles were each planted with three bean seeds per pole. The plants twined their way up the poles, with a few missing the poles entirely and meandering into squash vines from where each of them were found, untangled, and redirected.
The pole beans politely waited until the bush beans finished producing, and then almost suddenly began to appear in clusters. Many of the young beans were picked by handfuls, cooked, and eaten right away. Many others were blanched, and schlepped into the freezer.
|Purple pole beans have white seeds|
The last of the beans matured and then went ignored for awhile. We have now selected the best and largest of them, splitting open the pods to save seeds for next year. And, left were many, many more over-ripened beans on the vines. How easy it would be to pull up the plants and toss them onto a compost pile! But, why waste a good bean seed? So, we are preparing them as dried beans. After popping open the pods and spilling the seeds out onto pans, they are left to dry. The dried beans will be stored in glass jars.
Purple pole beans are fabulous as dried beans. To cook them, soak overnight along with a piece of kelp, then cook at a low simmer until softened. Enjoy them in chili as we have. Click here for Gil’s Fabulous Beer Garden Chili recipe. -G.H.