They were very slow to get started but shoots appeared eventually and I watered and watched them daily as they snaked their way up the wigwam. And then they stopped! They reached only about one third of the way up the poles. Still, flowers appeared in abundance so I carried on watering and watching. The first pods developed and, treating them like green beans, I picked them to encourage more growth. If only I were further on in my Italian lessons! I think I made a mistake. No super abundance of pods grew. In fact the crop was very meagre indeed.
I cooked the first pickings, which were delicious. Then I waited patiently for the rest of the pods to develop their beauteous red/purple hue. When I arrived home from my trip Up North, I found that a number of the pods had dried on the plants so I decided to harvest the crop this morning. All those months of loving watching, waiting and watering produced this:
adventure on the beach and I haven't replaced it yet.
I found that the beans inside the pods that had dried were a very deep purple colour, the less mature pods had beautifully speckled beans and the younger pods had pale beans. Here is the full bounty:
- I should have read up on growing borlotti beans and not guessed at the Italian instructions!
- I should have planted my runner beans as well.
- I should have allowed all of the pods to turn a deep shade before picking them.
- I should have expected an exiguous crop (I've been dying to use that word in a sentence and this is my first opportunity and the only reason for making this point).
I will definitely grow them again next year for their sheer beauty but I'll carry on buying canned beans for cooking.