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About pole beans

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1 About pole beans on Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:10 am

CynthiaM

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The thread that Omega Blue Farms has created about seeds for the gardens has prompted me to create a thread that I was going to, some long time ago, but just put on the back burner.

Some may recall a thread I had began in search of a pole bean seed, one that West Coast Seeds USED to sell (back in the day when they were called Territorial Seeds), that went by the name of Musica (or was it Musika), I have no clue.  That would have probably been spring, last, I was on a search.  That particular seed variety does not exist these days, from what I can understand.  I had asked province wide through forums, if anyone had ever saved seed from this particular cultivar of the pole bean.  I can clearly remember, and we are going back about 15 years or more, (I stopped growing the flat pole beans long ago, no clue why, but did, and resorted to the Blue Lake pole variety, fab, fab, bean and I still grow the Blue Lake, by the way), the incredible flavour of this Musica pole bean.  It was so intense and wonderful, I can still taste that taste in me mouth!!  It was fabulous.  

Two summers ago, we met up with my Brother and Sister-in-Law, who lived in Burnaby, near Metrotown at a campground far past Ashton Creek, getting close to Mable Lake.  Such a beautiful campsite, right on the river, not sure of the river name, but it runs from Mable Lake to Enderby and is a wonderful source of summer entertainment (geeze, pardon, but you know my ramblin’ cannot be halted, just my style).   They had a Japanese neighbour that grew a most incredible garden in a little plot in his backyard, right beside my in-laws home.  Not a word of  English, but this gentleman offered them many a time to participate in the bounty of his garden. And beans were one of the things offered.  That summer, it was late August, I brought to the campsite much food from my garden, for my beloved family to bring back to Burnaby, for them, and also to give to this neighbour, should he want some (don’t know if they ever did, that that was intention as well) I never asked them to share, but I know the sharing and wonderful family my Husband has, so I knew she would share, smiling.  Masses of Swiss chard, great zucchinis, among pole beans, Blue lake variety.  For dinner, she cooked some of our garden produce and then she brought out the green beans.  Oh glory....green beans, like I had remembered, from so long ago, long, flat, non-stringy, meaty and oh my gracious, the flavour.  That deep green bean flavour, it brought me back to the days when I grew the Musica variety of green pole bean.  Oh those glory days.  

Back in those days, I recall that my Cousin also loved that Musica variety, she grew it....I have not ever been in touch to see if she saved seed from that bean plant cultivar.  I should.  She is a vegetarian and saves seed, she, if anyone, would have some saved.....note to self....contact Cuz and ask if she ever grew and saved seed, from so many years ago, or went to another variety....yes, I’ll try to remember.

I cannot recall if I ever contacted West Coast seeds, about this, I think I did, just cannot recall.  Perhaps I did and that is how I got turned onto this variety.  I shall speak more to that in a moment.

Last year, got really into ensuring that all my seeds were not necessarily certified organic, but many are, but was after heirloom seeds, which I accomplished, almost, smiling.  Many of my seeds came from Two Wings Farm, on Vancouver Island.  Now whether they grow and save their own seed, really no clue.  The thread that Omega created, has really got me to a’thinkin’ about thinkin’ about thinkin’ about thinking of such things.  It is over a nevermind right now, cannot change the history, but surely the future.  

So back to bean seed.  I was thrilled with my bean plants this year.  Copious amounts gathered and harvested and preserved, in many ways.  Beans comin’ out our ears, smiling, so to speak.  I planted the usual Blue Lake (next year going for a yellow pole bean variety) and one called Helda Romano, the closest I could find to Musica.  Darn fabulous is all I can say.  The blue Lake matured about 2 weeks prior to the Helda, good, that is just good.  The blue lake produced for a little bit shorter time than Helda, but that was a given.

I thought that I would save seed from the Helda.  Am currently wondering if this will produce true.  The Blue Lake were cut down, because they were completely finished, not a bean was produced further.  I was harvesting the Helda beans well into the beginning of October, which shocked me, because we all know that beans are warm weather crops.  But these were amazing.  As said, the Blue Lake were done.  I knew that I was going to be saving seed from Helda, so I cut back the growing tips, to hasten the pods to ripen.  Hmmmm....strange thing happened.  Remember, this was now probably about 3rd week in September.  Knew full well that the killing frost could come in a couple of weeks.  Those darn beans produced more shoots and flowers and beans.  Could not believe it actually.  The growing season for this particular cultivar was amazing.  Ya, so last week of September, I had long, big, fat green beans growing and ripening too.  This was another funny thing too, I believe and this probably known fact, that sunshine causes nice taste in things.  Those beans that I picked, so late in the season, were not very tastey.....think lack of the good ol’ UV rays, or whatever, but it is so.  Just like the blackberries on the coast that still ripened when the sun’s rays diminished so much, just not very sweet or nice, not like the berries picked in the thrust of the great season for picking, an aside again, oops, pardon.  So left the bean pods on the vine as long as I could, many fully ripened and I picked and dry stored to further the drying process.  Some I picked that were fully developed, but not drying yet...that killing frost was just around the corner (came about October 8 actually, if memory serves me well, could be a little this way or that way).  So into the brown paper bag those green, fully developed beans went, separate from the yellow pods that were dried, they were in a different bag.  About 2 weeks ago, finally got around to separating the beans from the dried pods.  Pleased in some ways, but displeased in other ways, and the picture will tell that tale.  I have questions, mostly about condition of bean seed and I would like some responses on what others think.  Have a most wonderful day, CynthiaM.

This is a picture taken around the 12th of August, last year, 2013.  I had to lighten the exposure on the picture as it was a little dark, so things may look a little glossy.  See that corn?  That was just four short rows, in a block (wind pollinated so plant in blocks), about 10 plants to each row, not much corn, but oh, rock my socks, the fabulous corn from the garden.  The beans are in the background.  The beans to the left are the romano style, the Helda, flat, long, about 12 inches long, to the right is the Blue Lake variety.  Very different growing style, with the blue Lake a much heavier foliaged plant.  In forefront of the beans is where I grew the biggest peppers I have ever grown, fully developed, and the green peppers were as big as my hand, guess I will include a picture of that too, just for the fun of it.  And habanero peppers, so big and luscious that I have never seen.  I think they are companion planting to beans, or maybe the corn, or maybe it was the protection from corn and beans, keeping soil moist, will probably never know, but fabulous peppers (and boy, sure did love the red Shephard variety, oh, oh, oh).  

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This pepper in my hand is actually a golden bell, but it is still yet green

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This is the green bell, to the right of the yellow bell – I think the variety is Kentucky wonder (or is that a bean name?  Can’t recall, my Cousin sent transplants)

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So getting back to the bean seed saving.  The seed saved, as I mentioned, is called Held Romano.  The picture shows the few seeds I have left from the package from the seed company on the left.  To the right are the bean seeds that I saved.  Many of the bean seeds are larger than the parent seeds, which grew the pole beans.  But look, why on earth is there so many seeds that are wrinkled, miscoloured and well, just not good.  Anyone?  Can you answer this?  Will any of the bad looking seeds be viable, or should I just chuck those improper ones out.  I really don’t know.  I would suspect to keep only the very best.  Also, any ideas why some of those seeds just did not????  

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2 Re: About pole beans on Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:50 am

Omega Blue Farms

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Cynthia,

Those dark coloured beans look like what I get when we get too much rain during the seed ripening/drying season. I toss the dark and deformed ones for fear that they may spread disease.

As for beans, I wish they had a "Standard" like we do for poultry. I too grow Blue Lake Pole. Like most of the varieties I decide to keep, I start with seed from several sources and then work from there. In the case of Blue Lake, I ended up with two very different types of beans. One type allows for easy bean seed extraction and produces a more slender bean while the other type is more pulpy, is a thicker bean, and doesn't release the bean seed as easily. They are obviously two different varieties, but which is the true Blue Lake? I dunno, but am selecting for the type that I prefer.

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3 Re: About pole beans on Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm

Magdelan

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oh jeepers Cindi, just looking at your garden photos has given me flutters in my stomach. nice :-). Last year we saved some seed from beans that came from Salt Spring Island, most were the bush beans we had bought and there were two rogue climbing bean plants which had beautiful purple beans on them. They were so tender and lovely to eat, saved some pods but don't know much about saving bean seed so will be interesting to find out if they germinate. Going to see what comes from your post :-)

4 Re: About pole beans on Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:18 pm

Swamp Hen

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Could be the ones that were picked at the "fully developed but not drying yet" had too much moisture as Omega Blue said. Next year maybe try leaving one plant completely un-picked, you might get naturally dried beans if your not encouraging more production by picking? Nice pictures, so very jealous of those peppers!

5 Re: About pole beans on Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:21 pm

Farmer Bob

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Beautiful garden!

6 Re: About pole beans on Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:03 am

CynthiaM

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Hmmm. Do wonder about the moisture being too high with the "bad" bean seeds. Many of the beans were left on the vine to ripen and did, many were picked when they were turning yellow, none picked when they were yet green. Had to pick them for fear of the frost. I did not keep track of which beans were naturally dried on the vine and which were not. Will do next year. I will discard the ugly beans, for sure, always want the best. The beans that are in nice shape are much bigger than the seeds that were company bought and were parent plants for the beans. I love those purple podded beans, so easy to pick. I think I will be purchasing some of that and this year I am also going to plant yellow pole beans. Heard that they are even nicer than green pod pole beans. Very interesting Omega about the two different beans, and the quandary about which is the actual Blue lake variety. Strange things done in the midnight sun. Have a most awesome day, CynthiaM.

7 Re: About pole beans on Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:08 am

birish


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I would definetly toss the wrinkled ones ,probably wouldn't germinate and if they did would be weak plants,it's always a good idea to plant your best seeds

8 Re: About pole beans on Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:42 am

birish


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Searched for Musica through Seeds of Div.,no luck,went through Ag.Can.gene bank to get a var.of tom I grew for them in '05 asked about this bean,again no luck they probably exist in somebodys garden somewhere somight show up

9 Re: About pole beans on Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:13 am

CynthiaM

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Birish, I was on a search for the variety called "musica" last year and Appway gave me a sight, called Abundant Life. I just went to that site and was diverted to the sister company
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It seems maybe this sister company is in Canada. I looked, they do offer musica romano pole beans. I think I will be getting some seed from this company and saving and see how they come true in the following years. I was so pleased with the Helda romano bean I got last year and evidently it is pretty much the same as musica. I don't know. I just know the bean was absolutely fabulous and lasted so long into the fall. so yes, musica bean variety is still in existence. Have a wonderful day, CynthiaM.

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