From John Cook Gould 10 October 1864
I enclose an extract respecting Beans from the Systema Horticulturea—or the Art of Gardening by I Woolridge Gent— printed for Thos Dring at the Harrow over against the Templegate in Fleet street 1688 1 I shall be pleased to lend you the work if it will be of any service—2
Yrs obedtly | Jno Gould
On Kidney Beans
Kidney Beans were as ancient a food as the other (The Broad Beans) and in very great esteem with the old Italians; yet within the Memory of man were a great rarity here in England although now a known and common delicate Food
They delight in a warm, light, and fertile ground, which being well stirred, and about May-day or very little sooner, planted with the Kidney Beans, at about a foot apart, and two fingers deep, will yield you an extraordinary Crop
You may either set tall sticks near for them to turne about or let them lie on the ground, but if you are straitened in room, those on sticks will yield you the greatest crop
Of these there are four sorts, 1. The Scarlet Runner Bean, which yieldeth a rough husk, and is not the best to eat in the shell as Kidney Beans usually are eaten, but is the best to be eaten in the winter when dry and boiled. 2. The Painted or Steaked Bean, which is the hardiest, although the meanest of all, and is known, the dry Bean being all over streaked with a dark Color. 3. The large White Bean, which yields a fair and delicate Pod. 4 The small White Bean which except in size is like the latter, but esteemed the sweeter.
There is another sort much like the last, that is natural to the Island, Bona Vista, and thence taken and propagated in the Summer Islands,3 from whence certain persons have them dry and esteem them as delicate Meat; they will flourish here well in branch, but our Summers are not long enough to bring them to maturity, Quære, if raised on a hot bed
May day is May 1st which by old style wd have been April 20th.
Now Brooks4 here in high land does not sow till First week in May!!
difference in soil, & season & fertility importation of new vars. renders my problem insoluble
Encloses an extract concerning beans from the Systema Horticultureæ of 1688 by J. Worlidge. Will be pleased to lend the volume if needed.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4631A,” accessed on 30 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4631A