The arrival of the first frost is always a mixed blessing, mostly sad because it means the end of the growing season, but a bit of pleasure because it brings a long list of to-do’s to an end as well. This year’s first frost was later than usual. Our average date is October 10, so October 24 gave us two whole extra weeks of growing. Here at Herbal Blessings Potager, that was a good thing because I was a bit late seeding the last crop of beans. In fact, I almost didn’t bother, thinking that it was too late. And then I thought, “What the heck, let’s give it a try!” So, on August 28th I sowed two 6′ rows of beans, one of my favorite “Royal Burgundy” and another row of “Red Swan.” Both packets were old. I know I picked up the Red Swan when I visited Baker Creek Seeds in Missouri probably 5 years ago, and didn’t promptly put them in my seed box, so they went missing. Happily, both grew well and here’s my harvest:
The Royal Burgundy beans on the left weighed just about a pound. The Red Swan on the right was nearly 3 pounds. Same amount of seed planted, adjacent 6’rows so same conditions. I did notice that the Red Swan beans had more bug bites than the darker purple beans which were unscathed. I prefer the flavor of the Royal Burgundy, but next year I will plant both again (but a bit earlier just in case the first frost isn’t so late.) Planting a late crop was definitely worth the gamble.