...and to continue my ramblings about beans I thought I might share a few thoughts on some of our pole varieties. Among the new additions to our garden this past season were Purple Podded and Rattlesnake pole beans. Even with spring conditions conducive to bean planting ours got off to a slow start but come August they were growing like gangbusters, surprising us with a decent amount of dry beans by fall. Luckily, the weather graced us with an extended summer without which we may not have been as fortunate.
I planted a 55' row comprised of the aforementioned two plus my old favorite, Kentucky Wonder. We strung a tall trellis of fencing wire down the row and planted the beans on each side. For whatever reason many of them, especially the Rattlesnake and Kentucky, had to be replanted numerous times due to poor germination. I even waited extra long to plant this year, making sure the soil was warm and the rains had passed. Of the three, I was most impressed with how the purple beans turned out, especially considering they were stuck at the shady end of the garden and took the longest of the three to produce a sizable bean.
I also grew some of the Rattlesnakes up my tomato cages, planting about three per tomato plant. That worked out quite well and was a great way to obtain a couple more buckets of (un-shelled) beans from the garden. They even helped hold the tomatoes up a bit...sort of.
In the end, Kentucky Wonder was my worst performer, normally it's my best. For more years than I can remember we have been saving their seed and growing these beans in a somewhat shady location in another garden plot. However, this year they were granted a prime location in the main garden. I almost wonder if the sun was too much for them, while this is highly questionable I'm at a loss as to what may have caused their less than usual beaniness.
Something I did notice this summer was how harsh the sun was on many of our plants, even burning and drying some of the leaves...and our garden is pretty shaded as it is. The eggplants, although they put out a superior product, looked less than lovely because of this and many of our brassicas also suffered from the dry leaf issue only recovering after the weather had cooled. Fewer aphids on the cole crops and a whole lot of ladybugs helped make up for the ugliness, that was nice for a change. Each year is so very different from the last. I suppose these challenges and occasional frustrations are what help make gardening such an interesting experience for the two of us.