Green beans keep gardeners busy

Planting and growing pole beans in a large planter was a successful garden experiment this year.

green-beans-blogI like to think of my garden as one big experiment. In my outdoor laboratory I’ve planted unusual combinations of perennials together, put tall plants in front of short plants, planted some where they might not grow and let others go wild. Every year I also plant veggies in large planters just to see how they’ll grow.

My experiment this year was growing Kentucky Wonder green beans (pole bean type) in a large container with a trellis for support. I found a packet of seeds for only 20 cents early in the season.

The planter I used has a 22″ top diameter x 20″ high and is made of a lightweight Styrofoam. It probably holds about 64 quarts of potting soil.

Green beans are a popular garden staple, because they’re easy to grow and they’re vigorous. Beans are also a perfect choice for getting kids interested in gardening. The seeds are big and easy to handle and the vines climb like crazy up to 8 feet tall.

I have to say my green bean experiment was a success. I started picking beans last week and even though the crop was slow at first, I’m now picking them by the handfuls and we’re enjoying fresh, steamed green beans with dinner.

Here’s a bit more about green beans:

  • Check beans each day when it’s close to harvest time and pick at regular intervals to keep plants productive.
  • Avoid harvesting beans when plants are wet to avoid spreading foliage disease.
  • Harvest when bean pods are firm and several inches long, but before the seeds inside are fully developed.
  • Use scissors to cut off pods to avoid breaking the stems or branches on the plant.

Freezing is the easy way to preserve the summer-fresh flavor of green beans. Pick green beans in their prime, wash, trim the ends and cut into smaller pieces. Blanch beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool beans immediately in ice water for 3 minutes; drain. Place beans in plastic freezer bags and freeze.

Do you have a favorite method for preparing home-grown green beans? If so, please share it here.


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