Green Beans in the Garden

Blooms on green beans October 4, 2013

Green Beans October 4, 2013

Today I found fresh green beans in the garden! Of all the vegetables that grow in the garden, fresh green beans have much better flavor and texture than any that are purchased at the supermarket or at the farmers’ markets.

Once picked, the beans are immediately soaked in water for about 15 minutes, the put in the refrigerator. If not soaked, the beans tend to dry out very quickly in the dry refrigeration air.

When there are too many green beans to consume in a week, they are frozen (blanched, placed on cookie sheets, frozen, then packed into bags for “stick-free” access). The frozen green beans are still better than anything bought, but not as good as when they are freshly picked!

These Contender variety green beans were planted on August 17, 2013, and began blooming on October 4 (picture to left). Today, October 17, 2013, is 60 days since planting (about average for the time it takes to produce green beans). The green beans shown below are not quite ready to pick — center of the picture, towards the bottom, will be picked later today or tomorrow morning — another is visible lower down and farther back in the foliage.  There are enough green beans ready (larger than these, but not shown) to have our first green beans of the Fall today!

Contender green beans 60 days after planting

Contender green beans, October 17, 2013 (60 days)

Sprouting Green Beans

Row of green beans start to sprout.

Green Beans, August 23, 2013

Green beans were planted on Saturday, August 17 and some have sprouted.

In order to keep them alive and growing, my husband placed a soaker hose along each row for more water to the roots, and less wasted in sprinkler irrigation. We tried drip hoses, but the time and cost were higher—and the soaker hoses can be run very low to conserve water.

With about 60 days to green beans, these should produce the first round about mid-October. If we have any early freezes or frosts, we’ll cover them with tarps at night and open them to air (when above freezing) in the day.

Two additional pictures (below) show the green beans sprouting through the row of ground.

Green bean sprout shown pushing up through the ground

Green Bean Sprout

Three different plants at three different ages.

Sprouting Progression

Green Beans

green beans may2013

These green beans were picked on May 31, 2013. Green beans can be grown as either Spring or Fall garden vegetables; the Fall garden often produces more than the Spring garden–once the heat of late Spring arrives, the plants will die back. Last Fall we covered the plants with a tarp for  Frosts and Freezes through November. The deer love green beans and will carefully pick all ripe beans–we keep green beans close to the house with a fenced yard and it has worked so far. During the drought, however, the deer came into the yard to forage acorns and other green plants. As the beans mature, pick them and the plants will continue to add new ones.

Once picked, soak the beans in water for 30-45 minutes, then drain the water, put them in a small colander and store in the refrigerator for at least a week. The beans can also be frozen. Five steps to freezing; 1) Snap the ends off the beans (and cut to desired size), 2) blanch with hot water (I drop them in a pot of boiling water, wait 30 seconds, then drain in a colander in sink), 3) place beans on a  cookie sheet and cool about 10 minutes, 4) place cookie sheet of beans in the freezer about 30 minutes, and 5) place frozen beans in freezer bags—the beans won’t stick together and you can select however many desired and store the rest.