03 July 2012

Greenie Beanies

This post was written 6/30 but because of the nasty storms then, could not be posted until power and internet access was restored today.

The goodie bag I was handed at the February seed exchange had a packet of seeds for green beans, "Contender." String beans are not my favorite vegetable (yes, I love broccoli) but I can eat them. Because of this, the limited space in the vegetable plot is usually reserved for only most-favored status.

I planted all the seeds (about two dozen) and fertilized with hope, but not with expectation. If I got a harvest, I needed to dig out the bean salad and almandine recipes I never made. If not, the plants could party in the annual compost pile with the radishes. But at least the legumes could fix some nitrogen to the soil, right?

The Contender bush beans sprouted first as food for the night stalkers. After a little treatment with Sluggo and diatomaceous earth, they were off to the races.

Some very hot days and some nice cool days passed and I quickly got my first harvest. Some of the beans were curled into C-shapes. I asked a farmer at a local farmer's market how he grows nice straight beans while my beans were naturally curly. I was told that some varieties do that better than others, and that dry spells between watering can also contribute to this. He grew a variety called 'Valentino' and found "Contender" not to his liking. My green beauties eventually ended up in a 5-bean salad with some of the farmer's yellow beans. (After cornering the market on every type of canned beans in the grocery store, I saw the fine print on the recipe that it could be a 4-bean salad, or 3-bean salad...next time.)

Recently I harvested some red romaine after arriving home from work one sunny 90 degree (32° C) afternoon. It was beginning to grow a stalk, and begging to be eaten. Thank goodness it was not bitter for leaving it in the heat, so for companionship, I gave it some red cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100) and a red 'nonion' (marble-sized onion) all from the garden. Other store produce was incorporated too. The resulting salad was intensely relished. The rest of the red romaine will be picked today after yesterday's 104 degree record (40° C).

Since this is a garden blog, I usually don't photograph food, but maybe once in a while I can show the final outcome of the garden goodies.

For The Record:
  • Good garden soil with good drainage
  • Full sun, 90% of day
  • Small amount of organic fertilizer
  • Munching insects in early season


Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, mexican zinnia, zinnia, rudbeckia, monarda, hosta, loosestrife, cardoon, daisy, echinops,
    platydcodon, cleome, echinacea, daylily
  • Harvested: lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green beans, 1 red onion

4 comments:

Kenneth Moore said...
Heh, I wish I remembered which beans I had planted from the swap--I have green bush beans, dwarf green bush beans, purple bush beans, a mystery pole bean that I think was supposed to be bushy, and a mystery snow pea that I swear was supposed to be a pole bean. I'm having trouble figuring out what to do with the produce (4 pounds blanched and frozen so far). Lots of spicy udon soup with beans, so far!
Patrick's Garden said...
Well I love the seed to plate stories. Have you always fertilized your beans? I've seen and heard for a long time that you should not fertilizer because they already fixate N and it leaves you with nearly all leaves.
Swimray said...
Ken,
Sounds like you were busy at the seed exchange.

Patrick,
I used a small amount of Milorganite (slow release, not strong) fertilizer when the plants were starting out and after they were ravaged by the night chompers - none after that. My soil is pretty good in that spot. This is the first time growing beans.
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
Love eating out of my garden. I ended up putting up beans when we were in Virginia. Fresh garden veggies are the best!!