Thursday, September 5, 2013

oh, beans!

Yesterday I picked the first of the beans.


These are the heirloom pole beans from Sow True Seed, kindly sent to me by Tipper at Blind Pig and the Acorn as part of a planting project. I wrote about it here.

Since this was an experiment, I did 3 small plantings, in 2 locations, working around a stretch of very wet weather. First, on 31 May, I planted a short row of ten beans by goat barn. These seeds were presoaked to give them a headstart on germinating.

In only four days, the cotyledons began to appear. It was tremendously exciting! Really, does this sight ever get old?

The fragments of clean, dried eggshells are intended to deter nibbling animals like mice from marching through the garden in search of the salad bar. Apparently something took a nibble out of the one below anyway, but the plant rose above it!

All ten beans germinated, gradually, over a ten-day period. Every morning I went out and counted the beans.

Ha! I became a bean-counter.
Where's my calculator?
Where's my pocket protector? 

This picture was taken 30 June. The baling-twine trellis was an experiment. You may have noticed, most things here are experiments.

A second row of 10 presoaked beans went in along a 6' fence in a new (sunny!) garden spot.

That sun-blocking greenery on the other side of the fence became part of the goats' menu. The goats are excellent gardening helpers, as long as they are on the proper side of the fence.*

After 9 days, these bean plants began popping up piecemeal over several days, and on the 14th of June, I planted the remaining 20+ seeds along the same fence. These last seeds were not soaked first. To my astonishment, eight days later, they all came up simultaneously. One morning there was a perfect row of beans greeting the sun, where the day before there had been only a line pressed into the ground.

Note to self: skip the presoaking next year!

Another surprise was the luxuriant growth of the planting by the goat barn (you can see the roof in the background), in an area with patchy light:

...compared to the sparse growth of the planting along the fence, in an area chosen because it gets so much sun:

So I have learned a couple of things about how and where to plant my pole beans next year.

Meanwhile, into the kitchen with the first beans!

I wouldn't call them "stringless" exactly...

but I've never minded stringing beans, so maybe I'm not quite as lazy as the "lazy wife" these beans were named for!

But...had they grown too big? Would they be tough?

Steamed them whole...

to accompany a little leftover roast chicken.

Delicious beans!
Meaty, yet tender.
Lovely flavor.

In fact, it's a good thing I took a picture before I started eating - see the steam on the fork? - because otherwise it would have been too late and this would have been a picture of...just chicken.

Fingers crossed for a long, late harvest period. It would be very nice to put up a few packets of these tasty beans for midwinter treats, but it seems more likely every bean will be eaten up long before it can see the inside of a freezer or jar.

I'm already planning where to plant more next year.

Thanks, Tipper! And thanks, Sow True Seeds!

*The day I spent a couple of hours planting onion sets, one of the goats slipped into the garden as I was going out the gate. The goat was in and out of the garden in roughly 12 seconds, but she left a row of deep sharp hoofprints straight down the new row of onions. Little monkey.


  1. Replies
    1. And good timing, too...the Reign of the Pattypan Squash may be winding down just a bit!

  2. Oh man, you are making me SO jealous. You did so well with your beans, and I bet they tasted awesome! I tried them one year, but the snow killed the plants before I got any beans. That was the last experiment with beans :)

    Sorry about the onions...

    1. I think we have similar gardening challenges! The first time I planted beans, the total harvest for the year was four lovely pods. Someday I'll write about my experience growing potatoes...sigh.

  3. Looks brilliant - beans are such "rewarding" plants, aren't they :)

    1. Indeed! Just seeing them come up is so exciting. Takes me back to the thrill of childhood gardens :)

  4. Wow! Those bean stalks really did grow fast! Yay for the harvest! I always loved shelling peas when I was little. I love green beans boiled with little red potatoes with lots of salt and pepper. Yummo! You need eyes in the back of your head with those goats around. :) Have a good weekend. Tammy

    1. You just brought back a memory of the first time I shelled peas at a neighbor's house, and discovered the joy of eating fresh, raw, sweet peas! Thanks :)

  5. Great post! Love, love, love the garden treasures. I am taking advantage of the local farmers market, too. ENJOY!

    1. This is the first year I've eaten more fresh veg from my own garden than from the farmers' markets and roadside stands...heady stuff!

  6. I often find here in Maine that when I plant something super early,and then a second planting a little later, that the second planting catches right up. I believe it is because the soil is warmer, and things germinate and grow faster. I think the beans grew so well near the goat area due to the richness of the goat poop which could be seeping over to where the beans were. And when things are in a shady area, the foliage often is large and vigorous, searching for the light!

    1. Oh sorry, my name can be Janie Mainey

    2. Welcome, Janie Mainey! Gardening is certainly an educational experience, isn't it? Interesting to know that your 2nd plantings catch up to the 1st.
      By the way, my older doe hails from midcoast Maine :)

  7. Quinn, those beans look wonderful...wish I had a big plate now.

    1. And now my first tomato is turning pink...hoping for more vegetables before the weather gets really, truly cold. As it is, I'm wearing a coat for morning chores!

  8. Wonderful post! I'm so glad the beans did good for you!! And you get an A+ for your reporting job : )

    1. Thank you, Tipper! I'm going to try to leave a few pods drying on the vine, for shelly beans. We'll see...


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