You all know the rest of that childhood jingle.

I am prompted to write about this rather delicate subject because I have just set out my green bean plants for this year. I like all beans, but green beans are my favorite. They have never caused any internal distress, however, and I wondered why that is . . . because they are beans, after all.

So I decided to ask Messrs. Google and Yahoo why this is. Here’s what I found:

Beans contain a complex carbohydrate, which humans cannot digest. The beans make their way, undigested, through the stomach and into the intestines, where the bacteria in the intestines causes the beans to ferment producing, you guessed it, gas. There are only two ways that our body can rid itself of intestinal gas; burping and, well, you know.

But this doesn’t answer the question of why you can safely eat green beans.  And in an Aha! Moment, I realized that we eat green beans for their pods and not for the immature little beans inside. Mystery solved.

But I really wanted to tell you about the type of beans that I planted this year.

There are two basic types of beans: pole or climbing beans, and Bush beans. The pole beans need a support, such as a trellis, but the Bush bean stays a small plant about two feet tall. Pole beans will take up less space in your garden, but still produce the same crop as Bush beans.

Haricot vert (French for beans green) is a bush type – very slender, usually stringless –which mustn’t be overcooked if you want it to maintain its color and flavor. Very different from the common Blue Lake variety we usually encounter in the supermarket. You can sometimes find them, though, packaged in small plastic bags.

I bought two cultivars of this variety online from Baker’s Rare Seeds.

I decided to try an unusual variety called Thai Yard Long beans. They are said to produce a bountiful crop of real yard long beans. I can’t imagine that these will be tender, but we’ll see.

This year is my first foray into vegetable gardening, albeit in containers. I usually leave vegetable gardening to local farmers who come to the Port Royal Farmers Markets.

I encourage all of you who don’t want the work of planting and maintaining a vegetable garden to pick up a plant or two at your local nursery and plunk it into a container on your patio or balcony. If you’re of a mind, it’s not too late to start some seeds. Salad greens are beautiful in a container and quick to mature. Radishes, too.

You who have planted tomatoes – Don’t think you’re finished when the summer’s harvest is over. Cut those plants back to about 12 inches in August, fertilize well and stand back for a second crop in the fall. Their well-established root system should give you fruit until the first hard freeze.

I am a master gardener, but a rank amateur when it comes to vegetable gardening. I’ll keep you posted throughout the season. My tomatoes have already been in for a few weeks in waist high planting beds.

I started the seeds indoors in February in some dandy new containers that have lights built into the domes covering the 12 planting cells. Ain’t technology grand!

You can buy a set of six of these for under $20 in several places online.  I put mine on heat mats and the results were wonderful.