Sunday, August 26, 2007

South African Suga Beans

Whilst I was working in Switzerland I was friendly with a South African who now lives in Weymouth. From time to time he goes home to South Africa and brings back South African items with him. One time he brought me back a Kilo packet of dried Suga Beans. I was curious as to what the plant looked like and how it grew so I took a dozen beans and germinated them in thumb pots with a general compost. Ten germinated OK and were transferred to two and half inch pots to grow on. They were planted out at the start of June just before all the cold wet weather started. They seemed to be holding on OK and producing flowers but not doing much in the way of producing beans whilst the runner beans were producing bucketfuls.

In habit the plants looked very much like French bean plants but I wasn't sure whether they were a runner or a dwarf plant so I planted them next to bean poles to climb up. They are only just producing growth that looks as though it might start to run up the poles. There are white flowers and some beans have grown, just enough for a meal. They taste OK raw but I prefer the taste of runner beans raw. The pods are about the length of a marker pen and seem to me to be very much like French Beans. I'll try some again next year and see if I get similar results.

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