Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Purple Peacock" Pole Bean

While dreaming of gardening during the dark of winter, I came upon an amazing plant in the Westcoast Seeds catalog, which I absolutely MUST try this year. It is a purple pole bean called "Purple Peacock". Here is the description and a photo from the catalog:

A beautiful plant - dark purple pods and twining stems, light purple flowers and dark leaves. A very striking and useful screen in the garden. This variety flowers first of all the beans, and handles cool conditions well. Purple pods keep their flavour and tenderness even when very long, turn green when cooked. Sets abundantly.

Okay, purple beans turn green when cooked, and this one is no exception. But this one offers purple stems, dark (presumably green) leaves, and even purple flowers! This is a purple-lover's dream-come-true!! My seven-year-old daughter will surely LOVE this plant! Better yet, Westcoast Seeds, which is a local company in Delta BC, distributes its seeds through my local Gardenworks in Burnaby, so no shipping (or waiting).

I picked up my Purple Peacock seeds today (approx 140 seeds for $3.10), along with a few more which caught my eye, including the swiss chard called Rhubarb Chard. I mistakenly bought a single small plant last year at a garden shop, thinking it was rhubarb. The tag had "Rhubarb" at the top and "Swiss Chard" at the bottom! Well, it provided a beautiful show of red stems all year (even better than the WestCoast Seeds photo at left), and a number of servings of cooked chard also (I harvested only the outer leaves). This year I hope to have more plants, for even more colour and more harvesting. I will likely start some indoors, and direct others outdoors, since I suspect the slugs may enjoy the chard seedlings.

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