April 28, 2015

Growing Heirloom Purple-Podded Pole Beans for the Garden Enthusiast - Cuenca Ecuador

Did you know that many of the fruits and vegetables that are available in Cuenca do not grow in Cuenca; that includes green beans. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more popular vegetables that do not grow well or not at all in Cuenca because it is NOT warm enough and or not enough sunlight.
 

1. Tomatoes
2. Peppers
3. Zucchini
4. Cucumbers
5. Green beans
6. Egg plants
6. Melons
7. Most fruits
8. Avocados
9. Etc
 

FYI: If you go outside of Cuenca, about one hour to Yunguilla Valley, you can grow everything!
 

Vegetables that love Cuenca weather are:

1. Cabbage
2. Broccoli
3. Cauliflower
4. Kale
5. Swiss Chard
6. Beets
7. Carrots
8. Potatoes
9. Etc…
 

Purple Podded Green Beans Love Cuenca’s Weather 

The regular green beans do not grow well in Cuenca as it needs warmer weather and lots of sun. However, the heirloom purple-podded bean grows excellent in Cuenca.  We used to grow them every year when we lived in the u.s because they are tasty green beans, easy to grow and good producers.  The good news is we also have found that they grow well in Cuenca.  
The other morning in April 2015 I was harvesting our purple-podded green beans from a small garden plot of about 5’ by 3’ when an indigenous woman carrying a heavy load on her back walked by and noticed me picking the beans.  She smiled big and stopped at our gate. I walked up to her as I could see she wanted to have one. She kept staring with a big grin on her face at the basket of beans I was harvesting from this small plot of ground and she seemed rather amazed. 
Only then did I realize that green beans do not grow in Cuenca, but here I was, picking them right in front of her from our small garden plot.  the photo below shows the small 3' by 5' garden plot where I picked the purple-podded pole beans from!

I offered her a couple of nice sized beans and she motioned for me to put them in her basket as her hands were full.  She will most-likely use them to grow her own bed of purple-podded pole beans. She was thrilled I gave her some seeds. There are about four seeds to each bean pod and with eight plants, she’ll get enough beans to eat some and save some seeds for planting a bigger crop next planting.
 

We think Cuenca will soon be seeing the purple-podded green beans being sold at the Mercados and grocery stores, along with the regular green pole bean that only grows in Yunguilla valley where it is warmer, or in Guayaquil.
 

The purple-podded pole beans are sold all over the Internet as heirloom seeds, not hybrids; they are the real deal and are heavy producers and disease resistant, plus easy to grow.  I was amazed at the abundance of the first picking myself.
The purple beans turn green when steamed. They are good eaten raw in salads and are also really tasty sautéed with some garlic and onions. It is nice to know we can grow these beans year round and include them to the already wonderful variety of vegetables available in Cuenca Ecuador.
 

We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the Discover Cuenca Ecuador blog!

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