Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garden Update: Roma II Bush Beans

I got my first picking of Roma II Bush Beans this morning. There are about as many left on the plants to finish growing, and still some flowers to set. I'll get two decent pickings and then probably one or two a little smaller. That's the thing about bush beans as opposed to vine beans. They produce all in one short-lived burst and then taper off production really quickly. Vine beans tend to produce all season.  But since I have such limited space, bush beans tend to work better for me. Come Fall, I will plant several more bean plants, and break it up into two plantings, two weeks apart, so I have a more steady supply. Possibly buy some very long bamboo stakes to make tall teepees, and try some vining beans too.

I'm going to use the ones I picked today in a really simple side dish for two. Just the beans, stewed until tender, with cherry tomatoes, garlic, some fresh herbs, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. I'd like them any way to be honest, green beans of all sorts (along with yellow and purple beans too) are one of my all-time favorite vegetables.

I've never grown this kind of bean before, and never even had a chance to eat them fresh, only frozen. You just don't see them fresh in the supermarkets, not even Whole Foods or Central Market. They may show up from time to time at farmer's markets, but I haven't seen them. Which is strange because they are very easy to grow. I guess they don't ship and store well? You hardly ever see organic green beans in general either. Maybe every once in a while I will see packages of them in one of the larger supermarkets or the local organic market, but they're rare to find. More incentive to grow my own.

I had planted them in 5 gallon buckets, thinned to two plants per bucket, but not all survived because the neighbor's free-range cats dug some up. They put out a lot of runners, more than bush beans usually do, so I made short bamboo stake teepees to help support them and that worked out really well. They're in an area that doesn't get full sun, but does get a fair amount, and they seem to be doing as good as I can hope for them in that area. Full sun is a hot commodity in my garden, so things that will tolerate a little shade and still produce enough to be worth their while, get planted at the edge of sun and shade. Eggplants and cucumbers tend to do okay there too. Not as productive as full shade, but enough for our use. I save the few sunny spots for tomatoes, peppers, melons, citrus, blueberries, and sun-loving herbs.


  1. Don't know if it would work for you, but I got a couple packages of those bamboo skewers (8"?) you use to make meat or seafood and vegetable skewers for the grill, and stuck them in the dirt of my pots about 2" apart, leaving several inches poking straight up. With 4"-5" embedded in the firm dirt, the 3" points sticking up were enough to keep the cats out of my pots. I only had tomatoes, but I don't know why they wouldn't work on just about anything.

  2. I went out and bought a couple packages of the skewers to keep in my garden tool box. So far, there haven't been any issues with cats digging seeds (the stray cat problem has been greatly diminished) but if the few that are still hanging around start to dig, I have the skewers to deter them now.