Pole beans are the purr-fect place for cats to hide. And for cats and dogs to eat. They are healthy and delicious and BEST! They are easy to grow. In fact, they are more likely to be too bountiful than unsuccessful when you grow them. My favorite type of pole bean is the Kentucky Wonder Bean.
I think that when the Brothers Grimm wrote Jack and the Beanstalk, they had experience with Kentucky Wonder Beans. Their vines grow 6’-9’ long and the beans grow up to 9” long. Pole beans effortlessly provide you with fresh greeness all summer long. You can freeze them or dry them or pick the little ones to add variety in your summer salads. They have protein and are a superfood in nutrition.
Dogs enjoy them raw. They are nutritious for pets (and people) when lightly cooked or raw. Green beans have Vitamins A, Bs, C, E and K as well as magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese and potassium. They are even suppliers of carotenoids even though they are green, unlike the expected orange and red foods like carrots and tomatoes. Green beans are considered a crossover food; because they are legumes inside and vegetable on the outside. (For people, they are helpful in their ability to lower risk of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and Type II diabetes.)
Dogs should not have beans as more than 10% of their daily diet.
What about cats? Green beans have all the wonderful qualities for cats that they do for dogs, PLUS! The protein that they provide is less fatty than meat so they can provide protein while helping your cat lose weight.
It is important that you don’t feed either animal overcooked green beans. Beans are the ‘musical fruit’ for humans or animals: gas is uncomfortable for all of us. They are more easily digested when raw or lightly cooked.
Kentucky Wonder Beans have been around for millenniums. 7-8,000 years ago, they were growing in Central America. Somehow, they made their way
to up to America where they were popular throughout the Southern United States under various names until they were officially named ‘Kentucky Wonder Beans’ in 1877 when a seed company put them in their catalog to sell commercially.
Obviously any plant that is a food that has been grown for thousands of years must have good qualities. I find that these are exceptional (and the only bean that I grow) for several reasons; they are tasty, easy to grow, are ready in 65 days (10 days earlier than most), continue to grow beans until frost (as long as you pick them every few days) and for the happy cat purpose: they grow UP.
They are supposed to grow 6’-9’ high but I choose to grow them over an arching trellis because it is much easier for me to reach them and also, because I love looking at them. It is very satisfying to walk under a trellis and be able to pick veg for dinner on the way through. We have picked nearly a bushel of beans from this one archway.
You only need about 18” of garden plot soil. I planted this entire archway in one line of seeds that is about 18” long. I put a small ‘A’ frame over the seedlings and as the grew, I trained their little, young vines up the frame. Eventually, I had to add a more substantial trellis made from willow branches and an old deceased fruit tree whose roots were perfect for grasping vines.
They are still growing even though it is now October and we haven’t had significant rain in a month. Mac, our cat loves to sit under the bean vines that entwine in and around the end tables and glider. He occasionally bats at the beans hanging down.
Poppy loves to eat the beans raw as I pick them. She takes them out of my basket.
Their leaves are sticky and heart shaped. They stick to everything from clothing to dogs.
Their flowers (blossoms) are very pretty too
Even if all that you have is a tiny two foot square of garden space, you can put in a dozen seeds for pole beans and have enough beans and bean vines to nutritiously feed yourself and your pet all summer as well as giving your pet a pleasant, cool place to hide during the summer/fall months.