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  • Writer's pictureKristina Zill

Plant some magic beans

The Countywide Seed Swap at all Delaware County Public Libraries ends June 1st, so be sure to stop by your local branch this week and pick up some heirloom vegetable seeds to try in this year’s garden. Certain seeds, like pod beans, are best planted directly in the garden after the last frost.

Each branch has different seeds, so it’s like a treasure hunt to see what you’ll discover. Some of the bean varieties we donated to the libraries this year include:

  • Golden Wax Bush Bean – an old-time favorite, with abundant harvests of delicious, stringless golden-yellow pods.

  • Dragon Tongue Bean – Tasty attractive 19th-century heirloom hails from the Netherlands. Compact stocky bushes bear abundant purple-violet flowers followed by flat 6″ creamy yellow pods mottled with purple tiger stripes.

  • Contender Green Bean – Open-pollinated, heavily producing green beans. Some people say it’s the best they’ve ever tasted.

  • Sunset Runner Bean – Luminous pink blossoms on vines, which are covered in due course with cascades of runner bean pods, equally wonderful whether used as snaps fresh, canned or frozen, or as shell beans. Lovely!

  • Barnside Runner Bean – Scarlet-flowered runner bean routinely reaches 25 feet in height! Transform unsightly buildings, including barns, into a wall of hummingbird-attracting flowers. Pods can grow to 10-12 inches. Very sweet and tender when eaten at the immature stage, a great variety for freezing for winter use as green beans.

  • Blue Lake Bush Bean – This dark-green bean has been a standard for over 40 years. The bush plants set heavy yields of flavorful pods that are tender and crisp. Developed in 1961 from the Pole Blue Lake.

  • Purple Podded Bean – Discovered by Henry Fields in the Ozark Mountains in the 1930s, this purple-podded heirloom is favored by old-timers in that region. Some kids think these beans are magic because they turn green when cooked. The vigorous vines climb 6–7′, are graced by lilac-colored blossoms, and produce copious tender bright purple pods.

  • Chinese Green Noodle Bean – 20” pods are straight and smooth, bright green, and of excellent quality. This hardy long bean is easy to grow almost anywhere. Very tasty stir-fried.


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