Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans

Kentucky Pole beans have been around for quite a while. 'Kentucky Wonder' was first introduced in 1877 by Ferry-Morse Seed Company and is still a very popular variety today. I grow them mainly because I like the taste even if they are more susceptible to disease and pests. This is because, unlike bush beans, they are in the garden for a longer period of time. They sell online for about $2.65 for a two ounce package or about 160 beans. That makes the per bean cost about one and a half cents each. That’s pretty expensive if you consider that the average home gardener my only plant twenty seeds or so per season. By the following season, germination rates and therefore seed viability will not be as good. Many go ahead and buy new seed each year. Alternatively, you can prolong the ‘freshness’ factor by keeping them in a sealed container in the refrigerator during the off season. Another way to save on these and all seeds, for that matter, would be to go in with friends who also have a garden and share the costs. By far the best way to save, when it is feasible, is to let some of the pods or fruit go ahead and mature on the vine towards the end of the season. Beans are great sports for this type of treatment. You just leave them on the vine and let them dry out. By October or so, you can go out and harvest them easily. The picture I have published in this blog were harvest this date from the few remaining vines out in my garden. Even though the pods were few, I got over 60 beans that will be stored over winter. Come this spring, about 20 or so will go into production. I plan offer any excess seeds to local gardeners to trade for seeds I might not have. That’s also another good reason to keep track of people who like to garden in your immediate area. You can trade seeds to you hearts content.