We planted three varieties of pole beans this spring, using seeds purchased from Seed Saver’s Exchange.
Along the intertwined tendrils’s balletic trajectories bloom tiny-petaled flowers in white or pink. If all goes as expected, bean pods will later emerge from the flowers.
Harvesting beans is a bit like looking for 3-D images in stereoscopic photos. If you look too intently into the masses of vines, you will probably miss many pods that are right in front of you. If you instead slightly relax your focus and wait, pods will pop into your peripheral vision. Many times, I have told people heading to a bean trellis that I’ve already gone over it, only to see them return with handfuls of beans that had escaped me.
We have harvested only a few pounds of beans so far: as with almost everything this year, the bean plants appear to have been delayed in their growth by the cold spring. If the number of flowers is any indication of future yield, though, we may be in for a good crop.
*At first, I was appalled that a bean variety would be named Cherokee Trail of Tears. Why would anyone name a vegetable after an atrocity? I later read that John Wyche, the Seed Savers Exchange member who donated the original seeds, descended from people who carried the beans with them along the march during the winter of 1837. So the name of a bean commemorates the victims of genocide, and I will not regard a simple bean pod in the same way again.