In nature, sometimes it doesn’t pay to stand out in a crowd. I’m thinking of albino squirrels or deer, two cases when having white fur in a mostly green and brown world usually lowers the odds for survival. But when it comes to green beans, sometimes it actually pays to be something other than green! In this case I’m thinking purple, a color usually associated with other vegetables like eggplant.
‘Purple Queen’ bush beans have dark purple pods that are definitely not a liability in the garden. And they are much more than just a novelty too. For one thing, they are a productive variety that gives up loads of tender beans. And they also are very tolerant of cool growing conditions, which means they are great for spring time when sudden cold snaps can leave other beans shivering and sulking.
But one of the main benefits for me is the easy to find purple pods! It can sometimes be difficult to find green bush beans hiding amongst the green leaves and stems. At least it is for me. But not so for the ‘Purple Queen’ variety, where the purple pods really stand out.
Even the blooms on this variety are purple, though the pods lose their purple color when cooked.
And speaking of cooking, ‘Purple Queen’ is great in the kitchen, where the tender stringless beans are always welcome. After a couple of minutes cooking time, the purple color disappears and the beans turn dark green in color, though still distinctive from most green beans. I have no idea if ‘Purple Queen beans are any more nutritious than any other beans, but I can’t see how they can be any less so either.
Last year I planted them here on April 1st, which is a bit earlier than our usual planting time in mid to late April. I like to wait until the soil temperature is at least 65°F/18°C, though warmer soil will make for faster and better germination. Last year we had an early spring that made that planting date possible. The first beans were ready for harvest in early June.
There are other purple podded snap beans out there, but I’ve never tried growing them myself. ‘Purple Queen’ is the first one I tried, and I liked it so much I’ve kept on growing it ever since. For an early, dependable and easy to spot snap bean you might consider trying it in your garden as well.
To check out other favorite varieties, visit Suburban Tomato where today’s spotlight features another purple vegetable: Bonica Eggplant. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Saturday Spotlight, and I’ll be back soon with another variety. Until then, Happy Growing from Happy Acres!