Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Beans galore!

The other day I received an email from a lady asking whether I would be able to give her some seeds of the climbing bean "Selma Zebra", which I had written about some time previously. I did have a few seeds of that variety left and I had no immediate plans to sow them, so I sent them off to her. In return she sent me a huge selection of beauties from her "extensive" collection of beans.

I was taken aback by her generosity! After all, I had sent her perhaps 25 seeds of one single variety, yet she sends me 15 each of 8 different varieties. Wow, what am I going to do with all these?

The selection includes varieties I had never even heard of. Well, come on, have you heard of a bean called "District Nurse"? I like the sound of "Kew Blue" too - it rolls nicely off the tongue.

I had been planning to play safe this year and grow only Runner Beans and my favourite climbing French Bean "Cobra", but I think I have changed my mind. Last year the "Cherokee Trail of Tears" did well and produced a good crop of compact shiny black beans which I have really enjoyed cooking and eating, particularly in Mexican-inspired pork casseroles:

but I'm very tempted by the description of "Veitch's"  - ideal for chilli (con carne). Back to the drawing-board for the garden plans...

For the record, this is what the "Selma Zebra" beans look like. [Photo from 2011]. They are the darker-coloured pods, bottom left.

And this appears to be the only photo I have of some actual (shelled) Selma Zebra beans. They are the speckly ones, bottom right here (shown at the "green" stage, before drying).

I asked this lady (she's called Judith, by the way) if she has a blog or website where I could learn more about her bean collection, but regrettably the answer was "No". Still, I might just try to persuade her to write a guest post for my blog. I reckon there are a lot of people out there who would be interested. And maybe we could organise an even more ambitious seed-swap? If you're into shelling-beans, maybe you'd like to have a look HERE at a post I published back in 2011? I had forgotten how attractive the Yin Yang beans are...


  1. Wow lots of beautiful beans. I've grown so many new ones in the last couple of years. I'm so trying to stick to a few old favorites. I may succeed.

  2. I envisage beans growing up all your fences and any other garden structure.

  3. I've met so many generous people since I've started blogging, it warms my heart to know there's such kind people out there. I think you need to find room for another raised bed for that little lot.

  4. Oh yes, please. Definitely a guest blog! You have me all interested there. Wonder how all these new varieties will turn out. Have you asked your neighbour if you could lease part of his garden, Mark? ;)

  5. Knowing you I am sure you will be keen to give all of them a try

  6. You have the MOTHER LODE, now... beans galore! I can vouch for the Kentucky Wonders. Mother and Dad planted them every year in Kentucky and they were wonderful!!

  7. Very nice! Will be looking forward to seeing how these do for you.

  8. I think that's great. Seed swapping is terrific.

  9. What a generous gift Judith has given you, the Kew Blue most especially. A guest blog would be certainly timely for us in the process of ordering our own seeds, and her comments on the different varieties. Kentucky Wonder has done well for me also, but my favourite is Fortex, tender when young and middle-age.

  10. So many delicious bean varieties with awesome names, what a plant. We have lazy housewife and sex without strings growing in our garden at the moment. The kindness of strangers never fails to fill you with a warm fuzzy glow, all is good with the world.

  11. I went in and read your bean post. I am in love with dry beans. Beans were the only thing that did really well for me this year. So I ordered two dry bean seeds. Orca and Borlotti. I just went in to check and orca is also called Yin Yang bean. I must have channelled you when I ordered my bean seeds this year. Now that I see yours, I'm really excited to get going this year!,

  12. What a wonderful gift! Kentucky Wonders are the only ones I know about - you will love them!
    I decided to try some bunch Lima Beans, Fordhook, this year. Just bought my seeds today. I'm also planning to plant a running Lima Bean that I enjoyed in 2011 (I forgot the name of it) if I can find the seeds. I'm hoping I can plant in mid-April.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea's Menagerie
    Mississippi, USA

  13. Judith (I prefer Jude though)7 February 2013 at 07:24

    Well this is Judith (I much prefer Jude though!) un-lurking myself :-)
    How can I refuse writing a guest blog after reading this lovely post and equally lovely comments?

    Nice to meet you all :-)

    1. Result! Following this up via email...

  14. I can see why she would want the Selma Beans - they are beautiful. I really want to explore more bean varieties, especially those suitable for drying. Or better yet varieties that work well for both eating the pods fresh or the seeds dried. Excellent looking selection she gave you.

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  16. What a great exchange! I love the sound of a district nurse bean!

  17. I like the 'Painted Lady' beans, they look very interesting.

  18. Fantastic looking beans and what a generous return gift. Hope you have room to squeeze them in.


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