Blossoms on my purple bush bean plants were delicious shades of purple—some of the richest color in the kitchen garden this year.
Purple beans are vaguely exotic and quite pretty. Until this year, I’d never gown purple beans, so it pleased me to plant a row of them next to a row of green beans. These were bush beans, in violation of an epiphany I reported several months ago regarding pea plants: plant tall varieties instead of short ones.
Climbing Beans for Older Gardeners
Back in July I explained that harvesting peas from short plants is seriously unpleasant for me… at peak harvest I ended up sitting on the ground to get the job done. Tall pea plants put most of their produce above knee level, so I didn’t need to bend much to harvest.
Well… beans come in bush and climbing varieties. The bush varieties produce within 18 inches of the ground and 3-to-6 inches is common. That means the bean harvest demands as much bending as a pea harvest does.
I loved the look of purple beans up until I dropped them into hot water; within seconds all the purple washed out of them leaving them a slightly darker shade of green than my cooked green beans.
Climbing bean plants usually don’t produce until they’ve twined seven or more feet up the trellises I provide for them. Granted, some beans form close to the ground, but most emerge well above knee level; I actually reach up to harvest the bulk of my climbing beans.
Half Purple Beans Cement the Argument
Avoiding bending is huge incentive for me to grow climbing beans, but my garden produced an unexpected crop that gives me another reason to favor tall vegetable plants over short ones. This season, along with the gorgeous purple bush beans, I harvested a whole bunch of half purple beans.
I wish the half purples had resulted from some genetic anomaly among the seeds I planted. Sadly, the half purples were the leavings of lazy rodents who dined often in my garden, but rarely finished eating the beans they started.
It was disheartening to find bean-after-bean gnawed short by what I guess was rats. Only bugs gnawed on the climbing beans. I’m done with bush beans. In all coming seasons the only beans I plant will be climbing beans.