March 2010
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scarlet runner pole bean (growing with purple peacock beans)

Going through the newly arrived seed packets,I see a good mix of both old friends and new acquaintances.

This week I’ll plant Napoli carrots in the hoop house, a favorite for cold season sowing and sweet,early summer harvests. Inter-planted will be new comer,Easter Egg radish,apparently a multicolor,pastel mix of small round roots. Sounds pretty. But just in case they aren’t tasty and to extend the radish harvests, I’ll plant a row of good old Crimson Giant radish – big, mildly sweet,juicy,and maturing just a week later than Easter Egg.

Beans have become a passion of mine the last few years. Eric doesn’t share my love for fresh green beans but likes the elegant little French style haricot vert beans. Fedco offers a new variety of haricot vert called Masai that apparently doesn’t get stringy and tough if you don’t pick them every day. We’ll see if that’s true!

On the opposite end of the green bean spectrum,I’ve rediscovered the wonderfulness of Scarlet Runner beans. Not only are the red flowers and and mottled seeds exceptionally beautiful,the big,thick green seed pods are meaty and delicious. Perhaps it was all the rain that made those green beans extra good last August but after giving some to friends they declared them the best green beans ever tasted. I had  hesitated to share those jumbo beans in the past, assuming that the size and coarse outer texture of the bean would turn people off.  This year I will be more generous with my scarlet runner beans.

Last year I inter-planted scarlet runners with purple peacock,another pole bean with delicate purple flowers and long dark purple pods.  When cooked they turn dark green.  This year,I ordered a multi-colored mix of pole beans from Fedco.  Can’t wait to see what other colors and shapes the flowers,pods and dry seeds take.

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