Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Summer Beans of 2012

After 4 years of gardening in Kihei
I didn't think there was such a thing as summer beans.

 In July and August I plant cover crops and this year I used my reject bean seeds. These were seeds that weren't heat tolerant or that I knew I would never get around to planting. Although beans don't grow well in the summer, some will grow well enough to be turned under as a cover crop.

Great Northern Pole Beans

I had a large package of Great Northern "bush" beans. It takes a lot of bush bean plants to yield a 1/2 lb of shell or dry beans and there's just not enough room in my garden to plant that many.

The origin of Great Northern is the Hidatsu and Mandan tribes of North Dakota. It would seem to be the most unlikely bean for growing in the 90 degree subtropics. It was bred to be drought tolerant but I've learned that doesn't mean heat tolerant.

A Shell Bean Harvest in September
 
To my surprise they were a pole bean and grew beautifully in July and August with minimal bug damage. I had a lot of Great Northern beans - I planted them everywhere - let them grow and had a nice harvest of delicious shell beans on the autumn equinox.

Great Northern bean seeds are available from Sustainable Seed Company.