Bean to be seen

RETIRED Swan Hill resident Colin Virtue has unearthed something surprising in his veggie patch, three giant beans. 

Colin Virtue grows New Guinea beans in his Swan Hill garden. Picture: PETER BANNAN

Colin Virtue grows New Guinea beans in his Swan Hill garden. Picture: PETER BANNAN

"They're not from New Guinea but actually from Africa," Colin said.

"And, they're not even a bean, they are actually a climbing edible squash."

Colin's beans measure from 109cm to 120cm (four-foot) long, which are now too long to harvest. 

According to Gardening Australia, their flesh, if you eat it raw, tastes like a cross between zucchini and cucumber.

Cultivation of New Guinea beans date to the late 16th century and the species is now considered a traditional Italian vegetable.

Colin's vigorous bean leaves have taken over the side of his fence, and even grown into the neighbour's property.

"I planted them in late spring and slowly they took off, but now they are onto Frank's side of the fence," he said. 

"They are watered everyday, get plenty of sunlight and manure in the soil."

The retired railway worker, who grew up in Moulamein, also grows rockmelons and snake beans, and cuts of English box hedge. 

Colin worked on the tracks between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie.

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