In a previous article I described the characteristics of an early prairie bush bean called Drew’s Dandy and its value for dry beans (see http://heritagepotato.ca/heritage-beans/drews-dandy/ on this website). Drew’s Dandy is a common bean, Phaesolus vulgaris. This variety is also grown as a snap bean. This year, 2023, I sowed it on May 2, closely spaced between another early bush bean, Aura, and a pole bean from Himchal Pradesh in India. I soaked the seeds for 24 hours indoors and then covered the sowed seeds in 6 mil plastic sheet for about 10 days.
By May 13 germination of these 2022 harvest seeds was nearly 100%. May and June have been relatively warm and dry months, though night-time temperatures approached freezing several times in my trial field (Figure 2). Nevertheless, growth was steady with flowers appearing by about June 10.
The first tiny pods showed by June 20 atop stems that emerged from the leafy canopy (Figure 2). On June 26, I could not believe my eyes when I looked inside the bushes where many flowers are produced to discover fully formed flat green pods (Figure 3). Young pods are stringless, 15cm (6”) long, 1.5 cm (0.6”) wide and 0.5cm (0.4”) thick. Many of these were full-length (Figure 4). They tasted delicious and sweet when eaten fresh and green. We steamed them and enjoyed our first cooked snaps on June 28th, 3-4 weeks earlier than ever in the thirty years I have been gardening on the Saanich Peninsula. From a cool early May sowing to harvest time required to produce full size snap beans was 56 days. These were mostly not high heat summer days, but spring days with some very low night temperatures.
Drew’s Dandy has the potential to be a specialty early green bean on the coast and deserves to be grown widely in Canada to start the snap bean harvest season in our gardens.