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HOME GROWN: Green beans a tasty meal

Suzanne Griffith

HOME GROWN: Green beans a tasty meal

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It’s interesting how we can fall into predictable eating patterns, some healthy, and others, well, not so healthy.
Practising what I preach, or at least trying, I make vegetables a part of nearly every meal at our house. We do however suffer from vegetable repetition syndrome: broccoli . . . broccoli . . . broccoli.
Over the Christmas vacation a bag of green beans made their way into our refrigerator. At last some variety to break the monotony of broccoli!
The green beans, lightly steamed and salted, were a big hit. The unexpected popularity of the beans caused me to realize that there’s nothing wrong with trying something new or different as your children, and their palate,  may surprise you.  
This got me thinking about how I could incorporate beans into my container garden. Then it came to me. In my former, much larger garden, I had been growing what are commonly referred to as snake or yard-long beans in a fairly compact area.
I’ve taken to calling them snake beans as my son gets a laugh out of the fact that a bean can grow as long as a snake. In actuality, at their tastiest snake beans grow to about half-a-yard or a foot-and-a-half long and are best harvested when no more in diameter than a pencil.
They are perfect for containers and compact gardens as the germinated seed rapidly becomes a climbing vine, complete with delicate purple flower-bearing bean pod pairs in as little as 60 days. In the past I’ve noticed that the beans seemingly double in length overnight – in other words, keep an eye on your crop for a tasty and nearly continual harvest.
Growing the beans in a container is easy. Just be certain to provide your vine with a trellis. I’ve made a trellis of twine anchored to the container and stretched it like a tightrope for the vine to run along; a simple trellis is all you will need.
As for the nutritive content of snake beans, they are a no-brainer as excellent sources of vitamins A and C, thiamine, iron and potassium and, best of all, they are low in calories and carbohydrates, devoid of fat when prepared steamed, and high in fibre.