Monday, November 10, 2014

Scarlet Cambridge broad beans

Things are drying out so fast that even the beds with water saving crystals added are soon going to have to be watered every day if they have seedlings in them. I really hope northern Australia gets quite a few cyclones this summer so we get some rain or we might be on water restrictions.

My scarlet Cambridge broad beans are drying now and ready for picking.
Over the last month or so while I have been tasting them I thought I wouldn't grow them again as the immature beans have an unpleasant bitterness to them but now I have tasted a mature bean. The bitterness is completely absent in the mature beans so I will grow them to sell as mature cooking beans.
The mature beans are pleasant to eat and a lovely dark purple colour (not sure yet if the colour stays in cooked beans but will try that after I finish writing this), but they do have the tough skin on them that some other broad beans also have.
All my broadies are drying now so I am going to be busy podding them soon.

So far all my four varieties this year have their good and bad points:

  • Scarlet Cambridge: Bitter when immature, great as a dry bean. Lovely dark purple colour. Beans are small. Average producer.
  • Crimson: Beautiful pink/red flowers. Very high producing. Delicious as a raw green bean. Small pods. Some problem with plants rotting at the base. Beans skins are not tough.
  • Aquadulce: Very popular all rounder. Prone to rust.
  • Gippsland Giant: Big beans. Average producer. Beans skins are not tough, no need to peel.

I always put in a couple of rows of broad beans for one of my block owners but she has trouble picking them as they get so tall and fall over so this year I planted them in late winter instead of Autumn and they are just three feet tall and easy to pick. They are a bit later than the Autumn planted beans but that just extends the season.
Most of my broad beans are finished already because of the early season and a big rust problem so I think I will do this extended planting every year and get a longer picking season. Having smaller plants also means that they are not falling onto neighbouring beds and being a pain in the butt.

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