Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum

It’s not often you settle down for a nice coffee and toasted tea cake in a Bigtown cafe with a friend and get passed a little baggie of contraband

mystery beans

We were meeting to do our seed order and my friend had brought along some heritage seeds a friend of hers had sent her. He’s a member of the Heritage Seed Library and had grown them last year – they can’t be sold because they’re not standardised hybrids. Once grown, the seed then gets passed on to other gardeners to keep the heritage varieties alive, although given my gardening success I’m not sure I’m the best person to be given anything precious to curate.

mystery beans close up

Up close they’re rather spiffy looking, but there’s a one tiny problem: my friend has forgotten what exactly they grow into (Twitter thinks they may be borlotti beans or failing that, dinosaur eggs). Clearly, the only thing to do is plant them and see what happens. For after all, nobody ever came to grief from growing beans given them by a mysterious stranger…



14 Responses to Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum

  1. Start worrying when it gets taller than your house 🙂

  2. disgruntled says:

    I shan’t be climbing up it, anyway

  3. charles says:

    My shallots have died due to drowning. Did the army come? No. Did the environment agency send Chris Smith to annoy me? No. Did my MP turn up in wellies? No. However the boiler is fixed in time for the next torrent. I need allium based water wings…

    I suspect that within 10 years we will have a Ministry of sympathy whose civil servants will be amazingly civil and provdie towels and a shoulder to cry on…

    I think they could be good old fashioned runner beans, which if left too long turn into borlotti beans.

  4. Flighty says:

    How about emailing the HSL with the picture and asking them if they can tell you what variety they are? xx

  5. disgruntled says:

    Aha – the donor speaks (via Facebook): They’re not just heritage, they’re orphans

    They are a climbing French Bean from the Heritage Seed Library 2013 Orphans List. The variety is given as Purple Podded Best. I grew them as a Seed Guardian last year (and will be doing so again this year) and produced about 4.5kgs of beans from about 30 plants. It felt slightly nerve racking to be looking after orphans but fortunately last year was a textbook growing year in W Yorkshire at least. I pinched the plants out when they reached about 6 ft in height and I think they would have gone a lot higher if I had not done!. They have attractive purple flowers and straight green pods with purple mottling. Most of the seeds produced were cream with purple mottling but occasionally a pod would be full of almost completely purple beans with tiny cream flecks, or in some cases the pods would be mixed with predominantly cream mottled beans and either one or two of the more solid purple beans. They are close to a barlotti in culinary terms (although shorter and more rounded in shape) and excellent in a Ribollita if you grow cavolo nero as well. Sadly not Dinosaur eggs.

  6. […] other news, I have planted my contraband. I’ll let you know if they come up, or […]

  7. […] dinosaur eggs are hatching. Stand […]

  8. […] mystery beans, at least, are doing […]

  9. […] you look to the left you can see an amazing feat of vegetable intelligence: my magic beans are not only thriving (never a given with beans), but are actually climbing up the bean poles I […]

  10. […] other news, the dinosaur eggs are […]

  11. […] talking of hunt-the-legume, the dinosaur eggs have produced […]

  12. […] the dinosaur egg mystery beans? Well, whatever they are, there are about to be a lot more of […]

  13. […] that I’ve resumed light gardening duties, it was time to tackle the dinosaur eggs, otherwise known as Purple Podded Best beans, which have done rather spectacularly well. The […]

  14. […] to the kindness of a friend of a friend (who has form when it comes to distributing plant material …) I have several recycled recycling containers […]

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