A while ago, well it seems a long time ago, way back when the weather was dry & hot, hot, HOT! & all us Brits were saying ‘Well, we mustn’t complain!’ (BUT WE DID!) We gave one of our neighbors some chicken & duck eggs. In return a few days later he gave me some French & runner bean seedlings to grow.
Now, I’ve never grown beans, apart from a very small trial run of broad beans a couple of years ago. I’d somehow got it into my head they were like peas & to get enough of a crop to feed 6 peeps you need to plant a whole football field full!
How wrong was I?
My generous neighbour gave me 8 plants, which I as usual broke the rules with when planting them out.
You see, there’s this thing of ‘Distance’ & ‘Depth’. The distance which each seedling should be planted from each other & the depth in the soil it should be & all the finnickity stuff like Ph of soil etc…etc…(I just feel like I’m back at school doing trig & chemistry!) I just ignored it all (again school springs to mind).
‘Proper’ veg growers have now started tutting at me & now clicked away from Our Blog in absolute disgust!
I hadn’t prepared the soil (apart from turning it over & pulling out a few weeds) apart from apologising to the worm I accidently chopped in half & I basically took these little babies & planted them about 4inches (if that!) apart.
The result of not really trying? Well, to be truthful when our neighbor was on about the fact that they’d got so many beans they didn’t know what to do with them & then asked how ours were going, I kind of smiled & said ‘yeah, they’re great, the beans are fab!’. To be honest we’d had about 6 beans in total & I felt guilty about the fact that I’d obviously not done his plants justice!
But, starting a couple of weeks ago with the rain being more of a frequent visitor we’ve had beans galore! So I’ve figured that not doing the home-work just delays them a bit….Phew!
Picking them is a nightmare! Just when you think you’ve got them all you move your head a couple of inches & find a load more. They are either very well disguised or I need glasses. Also, a funny thing I discovered is if you don’t realise you’ve been leaning into the bowl of beans you’ve picked, when you get into the house & put the bowl down & you then look down at the front of your jumper you discover 20 beans clinging to you for dear life!
So crisp, fresh beans, what to do with them? The best way I’ve found to cook them is pick them fresh & young, (when they’re about 3inch long & if you find a bit of a huge beastie hiding in the foliage just chop it up a bit) stick them in a pan with a knob of butter, a clove of chopped garlic, salt, pepper & a splash of water. Put the lid on & leave over a medium-ish heat for around 10-15mins giving it a shake every now & then. You can also add some chopped courgette & ripped-up old sorrel leaves.
Then serve when just softened but still got a bit of crunch. Yum!
Be prepared for an evening of sly smiles & duvet wafting. Well worth it though!