Peas, beautiful peas - Green Arrow
I love leguminous plants. The climbers take up so little space, and the bush ones are still quite compact compared to other veggies, and they fix their own nitrogen. I know that 'people' suggest innoculating soil with nitrogen fixers when planting to increase yield but I have never needed to do this. Here are the plants that I have grown, and whether or not I plan to grow them again:
Edible Podded: I grow snow peas every year and like them though they are not a major crop in my garden. I have no excuse for this. They are delicious, cold hardy and early, and delicious. This year, I would like to try golden podded snowpeas for nothing more than the novelty.
Status: Golden podded?
Shelling Peas: I try to grow as many of these as possible and never have very many to freeze because the adorable pests, aka my children, get them before I can. I am definitely going to continue to grow as many as possible for the above reasons and also because I love the look guests get when I tell them to try some fresh from the vine. At first, they can be hesitant, especially if we are hosting a party and there are chips on offer. Chips? Peas? And then they try some. Their expression transforms. I must have more, they say with their eyes. We never have enough. I like the bush kinds for kid access but the taller ones are better for us on our small urban veggie plot. A great variety is Tall Telephone.
I don't grow more than two crops a season and my spring crop has always been way better than my fall crop. I think my second crop will for hereonin be grown as Pea Shoots.
Status: Yum. Never enough.
Soup Peas: The only kind I've grown is purple podded capucijner pea and I haven't used them for soup yet as this is the first year that I am growing the seed out. I received mine from a seed trade with Bifucated Carrot. They are beautiful and are storing well. Next year, I plan on growing out half of what I saved so that I'll have enough to eat!
Status: Grow some more!
BeansRunner Beans: I really want to try these. Why? They are darn pretty. They are also called seven year beans because of their alleged perennial nature. Let us just say they are grown as annuals here though some claim you can overwinter the roots.
Status: Yup, for decoration.
Pole Beans: I grow Cherokee Trail of Tears and they are so great that I 'almost' don't grow any other round podded types (you can use them dry or as snap beans, and prolific). Except, I also started to grow some speckled cranberry type that I found at the frust and veg shop. They were fresh locally grown pods that I dried out and planted the six or so beans the following year. Now I have more beans, what will happen? We'll see.
I also grew for the first time last year some flat podded beans 'Hunter' which are good in the young stage, and are also great at the lima bean (green mature stage) as well.
Status: Growing cranberry? beans, cherokee trail of tears and Hunter flat podded beans
Bush Beans: These are fine and I've grown them. Actually I grew two types and saved the seeds only to get them to cross so I had some mixed seed for a couple of years before I started growing pole beans and stopped growing these. It was fun to see the varitations on purple and green pods that I got from the mixing. By the way, I've heard that beans don't mix that easily. Go figure.
Status: Don't grow anymore
I grow a variety given to my husband who had come back from a protest against the terminator gene. It was a soy bean grown on a family farm for generations in Canada. I don't know the family name or I'd give it that name as a variety. I don't use the soy beans but only grow out my small patch year after year in solidarity.
On a whim, I grew out some Bulk Barn ones and they did wonderfully well. However, when it came time to process them, I realized I needed to know how to tresh them because it would take an unreasonably long time to open all those little pods. When I know how to do that and have a little more space, I'll grow them again.
Status: Not right now
Impulse buy. I got some brown 'Winnifred's Garbanzo' chickpeas and will try them this year. Where I'm going to put them, I don't know. That's what February is for... planning the garden layout. I've been fascinated by more obscure chickpea varities ever since I've read Breed Your Vegetable Varities (yes, I know, I mention this book a lot - it's fantastic for garden geeks).
Status: I'll find a place for them somewhere.
I'm not growing:
Lima Beans - marginal season here and well I don't really like them
Peanuts (short season) - Valencia can grow here but I haven't yet tried
Fava Beans - I can't get Hannibal Lector out of my head though they sure look pretty.
Yard Long Beans - I'm not growing them though I am intrigued - the real string beans
Winged Beans - This delicious sounding plant is not well suited to Ottawa.
Asparagus Peas - They sound pretty but I'd bet they'd just go from flower to tough in my dry soil.
Hyacinth Bean - Not going to grow well here? (see comments)
Tepary Bean - I thought these american dessert plants wouldn't grow here but apparently, Prairie Seeds grows them?
Tuberous Legumes - I guess some are grown for their tubers, such as Jicama.
Siberian Pea Shrub - some fear that this will become invasive out of its native habitat but it produces a bland lentil like seed.
And even more leguminous vegetables
Variation in seed colour in golden podded pea - seed saving
Prairie Seeds - interesting selection for northern climes