By Barry New, Seed Library of Galiano

I could give a number of answers but in the end for me thinking about seeds, it must be beans. I am now growing broad beans, bush beans, pole beans and especially Scarlet Runner beans. My runner beans could have been with me from 25-year-old saved seed. It is only recently that I have found a better way to enjoy the variety of dishes made from them. Beans do well in our soil and climate and it is not a crop that we have to be concerned about crop rotation. They enhance the soil.

Eat them fresh and young or open the pods for the more mature bean and use in many dishes. It is very useful to have a crop of beans dried in the pod to use throughout the winter. These can dry on the vine well into the Fall without concerns.

Beans are a staple food for many cultures, significant in nutritional value, and complement potatoes and grains. I am surprised broad beans are not more popular. I ate a young one this morning; May 23rd. They have a very long season and could be prolific. The best dish I have found is to make a bean pate with the dried bean: soaked overnight, boiled until tender and then easily peeled and flavoured to taste.

Beans are fun to grow. They could be problematic with planting them in the cool wet weather we have here in the Spring. They are vulnerable to slugs. Otherwise they germinate relatively quickly and are robust growers once the season warms up. To be sure, start them in seed trays or small pots or directly in the soil; I do all three.