Saturday, 31 May 2014

Black Pod Runner Beans (Phaseolus coccineus)

I chose these runner beans as part of my selection from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL) in 2012 and they have become a favourite here the last couple of years. They may not be the longest podded beans and they do get stringy if left not picked young, yet they have a distinct charm about them that I love. 

The variety was received by HSL from Jane Bygott and is an Heirloom variety from Bridgenorth in Shropshire having been grown there for the last one hundred years. "The beans were passed to Jane by her aunt Mary, who still grew a few beans up a trellis in the corner of her garden when she was in her nineties." HSL Catalogue

Underside leaf ribs are red, which adds to their beauty

Flowers are a gorgeous intense red.

Young beans already with a tip coloured burgundy red.

As you can see, loved by bees too!

Just getting into the swing of it.

Pods develop a lovely colour as they grow, these are ready for picking.

Pods left to ripen on the vine.

Smallish sized seeds.

Some of next seasons crop.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chance crossed Anasazi Beans

Anasazi beans, as they should look

Anasazi are a climbing variety and produces lots of lovely burgundy and creamy white beans, they are quite a small seeded bean. I use them sometimes as a fresh shelly bean, but mostly use them from dried. They have a super flavour with a lovely soft creamy texture and cook quite quickly

Which brings me to 'Chance crossed Anasazi'. The beans I grew a few years ago produced both a dried bean with more white colouring than the seed I'd sown and a black coloured bean. None of the beans I shelled that season looked like the parent variety. From correspondence with Remy (Sample Seed Shop) I understand different growing conditions can sometimes affect the appearance of seed colour which might account for why my beans had less burgundy colour. We did indeed have a cool wet summer the year these were produced.

Black x beans and whiter Anasazi beans grown 2011

The pale coloured Anasazi beans have in subsequent years produced very much the same looking and tasting beans, the amount of red-burgundy colour does vary from year to year and so far I have never harvested seed that are as dark as the original seed. I'm fairly sure these are pure Anasazi beans and it would be interesting to see what colour beans they produce in hotter climes than here.

Top Anasazi beans from 2011 and bottom 2012 crop. 

I sowed some of the black beans the following year and harvested both black and pink beans. Taste and texture is delicious and quite the same as Anasazi beans. There look to be a few types of black beans and also the pinks either have a white splash or not, all the beans in a pod are similar ie all with white. 

2012 crop of beans from black 2011 produced both black and pink beans. 

Pink beans with a splash of white!

Last year, I grew some of the original black x beans alongside the other saved beans and had a nice selection of types at harvest time. Quite fun shelling pods to see what colour and patterned beans might be inside!

Anasazi x 2013 

Anasazi x 2013, pretty pinky pods with lovely black beans inside

Selection of different sorts harvested in 3013

I'll be sowing beans in the next few days and above are a selection of the Anasazi x I'll be sowing.