Organic NZ

The magic bean

Sitting on the back porch in the late afternoon sun, shelling dry beans out into an apron or housedress, cup of tea to hand… no question, this is my favourite harvest season job. It’s a reward for having finished more taxing tasks. Once sorted and the best put aside for seed, the beans will fill Agee jars that line my pantry and will feed us for a year.

Beans were not one of the crops that first inspired me to grow food. I have my early gardening mentors to thank for the beans I grow today.

The first summer I visited Mark Christensen’s five-acre research garden in the Whanganui suburbs, I marvelled at vigorous beans twining up long metres of climbing frames.

I was just establishing my

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