One vegetable from the kitchen garden that always gets rave reviews, especially from our teenage son Conor, are the string beans.  Now that’s saying something!  He loves them freshly picked, but sauteing them with garlic and herbs takes them to a whole new level and has become one of our signature dishes!

In the garden – So easy to grow.  I start the seeds by lining a cookie sheet with paper towels and spraying with water.  I sprinkle the seeds on top of that and cover with another layer of paper towels.  Spray very well again with water.  Leave for 24 hours and the seeds will start to sprout. Plant them 3-4 inches apart and 1-1 1/2 inches deep. Water well, and keep them well watered by watering directly onto the base/roots of the plant.  As they start growing, I make a short teepee structure out of bamboo stakes to give them something to hold onto. We planted Blue Lake, Purple King, and our very favorite Haricots Verts (French green beans) that are so thin and tender.  Within 5-6 weeks they will be ready to pick – and remember that the more you pick, the more will grow!

Conor’s Sauteed Garlicky String Beans

1 pound green beans, trimmed

3 – 5 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence (or fresh thyme, marjoram, and rosemary – finely chopped)

pinch of kosher salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

*Optional: we sometimes add an extra kick to the beans by adding a small part of a dried chili pepper, like a cayenne or anaheim. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when handling these!

Wash beans, dry well, and trim.  Heat oil in frying pan or wok.  Add garlic, and saute until lightly golden.  Add beans, and stir to coat with the oil.  Add salt and pepper. Saute beans on medium high heat or until they are a little seared and tender (funny thing with purple beans – as they cook they lose most of their color and turn green). About a minute or so before the beans are done, add in the herbs and stir (if you add the herbs in the beginning they will get bitter tasting).  Serve right away.


  • I love string beans – so easy to grow. A tip on harvesting; avoid picking string beans after a rain or watering. There is a chance you can spread a disease called “mosaic” where the leaves begin to get mottled and yellow. Another problem with picking them is I love them raw! If you choose to steam them, then I suggest you shock them in ice water when bright green to retain their color. Good eats everyone.

  • I also recommend pole over bush beans. Better yield with pole beans. I stagger my planting of seeds so as to avoid a deluge of beans all at once.

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