A top finalist from the 2012 garden: Arikara Yellow bush bean

Even though we had a lovely, warm day yesterday, we did have snow last week, and I’m afraid my garden-ish posts will soon come to an end.  So today, I am featuring the hardy…  the versatile… the nutritious… the tasty… ARIKARA YELLOW BUSH BEAN!

My friend, Shanon, gave me a handful of these heirloom seeds in the spring of 2011.  (One seed magazine claims they are relatively hard to find.)  I planted them, and harvested enough seed from those plants to fill a few beds in my garden this season.  In May, when I was wondering how much room I wanted to allocate to this plant, I googled “arikara yellow bush bean” and was smitten as soon as I saw the word “hardy”.  Beans tend to be so finicky when it comes to seeding and soil temperature.  I think I re-planted my other bean beds two or three times; the seeds kept on rotting in the wet, cold ground before germinating.  But not the Arikara.  They sprouted, grew…

and produced a bountiful harvest of fresh snap beans.

While they taste quite nice as a snap bean, I think they are mostly cultivated for use as a dry soup bean.

As I dashed into the garage for something yesterday, I saw our plastic kiddy pool filled with dried bean plants balancing precariously on the table saw, and was reminded that I really must do something about them.  Luckily, threshing them wasn’t as arduous a task as it could have been.  After we stomped on the plants for a few minutes, all the pods cracked open and spit out their seeds.

For a moment I almost felt like we were in Tuscany, stomping grapes.  Then I looked at the peeling, blue kiddy pool and remembered that we weren’t making wine at all but salvaging a few dried beans.  The image was nice while it lasted.

Winnowing the beans from the chaff and dirt.

Now, at this point you may be thinking, “Don’t these guys have anything better to do?”

I admit, it’s not like we’re saving ourselves a lot of money or achieving self-sufficiency by producing one jarful of beans.  It hardly seems worthwhile.  Yet, there is something so pleasing about pawing into a bowlful of dry beans, harvested a few steps from our back door.

Arikara Yellow bean, ready for soup or next year’s garden.

Which plant, or variety, from your garden swept you off your feet this season?  I would love to know, especially if it is hardy enough for our short prairie growing season!


7 thoughts on “A top finalist from the 2012 garden: Arikara Yellow bush bean

  1. Butternut squash…that we planted from seeds from squash we bought last year. I think it was our first time ever growing this squash and they did well….took over the cucumbers and spilled out into the yard. We were able to share many.

  2. I planted sunflowers around my deck. They were quite shaded so I thought that they wouldn’t bloom, but in September they were beautiful patches of yellow that I could admire from my kitchen window for the whole month.

  3. Garlic…I didn’t have to do a thing and it turned out beautifully. Most of our garden was very neglected this year, so whatever turned out well is definitely on my list to plant next year 🙂

  4. Pingback: Retained heat cooking; a magical way to prepare beans | Experimenting as we grow

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