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.