by Chris Burns
|Just like snow flakes, you'll never find two that look exactly alike, attesting to Nature's infinite variety of expression!|
I've grown them many times before, but up until recently I always considered them to be strictly 'ornamental'. Don't know why! Perhaps it's because they were described that way in the catalog from which I ordered my first seeds. As you can see in the pictures posted with this article, they add exquisite beauty to any garden patch. It wasn't until 2011 that I sampled them as cooked, dried beans and discovered their beauty is only rivaled by their delicious flavor!
|Scarlet Runners vining up the bamboo trellis. We grew a 70-foot row last year and are doubling it in the 2013 season.|
|Bean pod-loving teens!|
For those who enjoy attracting pollinators to your garden, you'll likely find (as we did) that the flowers regularly attract hummingbirds and many beneficial insects. But the best kept secret of all is just how delicious the dried beans are. They have a mild flavor and, unlike Fava beans, their skin is thin (not even noticeable) and they have a velvety texture.
|A bamboo tipi provides a trellis for beans and beautifully frames our garden helpers.|
Be creative! Sometimes just a plain ole' bowl of beans with olive oil, soy sauce, finely chopped onions and grated cheese is all you need to get you in the mood to go outside and brave the winter elements.