Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Make Sure to Harvest String Beans When Ready

Image: Gibby's Garden
Though it may be a little early for those of us in the north to be out harvesting our string beans, it’s important to do so when they’re ready. This helps extend the harvest season and fill our freezers and pantries with plenty of crisp, tasty beans for the winter to come. So, why is picking all mature string beans a must?

String beans need to be harvested when mature in order for the plants to produce more - plain and simple. This may be annoying to some, but to me, it sounds like a good idea. Why should the plant waste it’s energy on producing a crop of beans if no one is there to harvest them?

String beans are typically ready for harvest when the seeds inside begin to swell. Of course harvest time differs depending on the variety, but on average, go ahead and pick them while the pods are still tender and check the back of your seed packet for the average bean length when ready for harvest.

You may think that waiting to harvest string beans when they’re several inches long and busting with ripe seeds will get you more bean for your buck - but you’re going to miss out on great taste and texture. Fat string beans become stringy, take on a woody texture and really lose a lot of that fresh, crisp flavor they’re known for straight from the garden.

I do lots of sampling to make sure my beans are ready before setting out to harvest - yum! I planted two varieties of string beans this year, Imperial Golden Wax ready for harvest at about 4-5 inches long, and Blue Lake pole beans ready around 6 inches or so.

Unfortunately due to the weather, I’ve had to replant many of my beans and will not be harvesting until later in the season. String beans are one of my favorite vegetables to eat and grow and I can’t wait for the sampling to begin!

What are some of your favorite vegetables?

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