Archive for the ‘Beans’ Category

In preparation Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The dawn before fall is nearly as good as spring when it comes to gardening, for me at least. The first plants are drying in their beds. The grass has all but stopped growing. The temperature inside need only be regulated by the opening and closing of windows. We are passed the heavy maintenance stage of weeding and watering and wrangling. All the pumpkin vines have shriveled leaving our back steps a staggering of orange orbs with only a couple looking as though they are waiting for Cinderella’s fairy godmother out in the garden bed.

Soya Envy soybeans, dried on plant, collected for next year's crop

Next steps:

  • Continue gathering seeds – so far I have edamame, marigold, pepper, tomato and butternut squash
  • Covering the tomato plants for a few more nights before picking all and leaving them to ripen on newspaper in front of a sunny window
  • Pick the last peppers
  • Make a list of what did well and didn’t for next year
  • Canning tomatoes
  • Cooking and freezing the pumpkin for pies and baby food
  • Help my parents pick apples and pears, with bonus bagfuls to take home
  • Plant fall bulbs – my pick this year was crocus
  • Plant garlic – just waiting for the order to arrive
Worth a hill of beans Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Soya Envy edamame soybeans

This year I finally had success with my edamame soybeans. They were planted by seed straight in the raised bed. The seeds were called Envy Soya beans. I picked them because they were an early variety (80 days) and therefore more suited to our shorter growing season. I’m happy to say it was true! The pods are about the same size as those you would get in a grocery store but the thicker brown fuzz of these ones makes them standout. I could see that maybe being an issue for some – it’s like a 2-day stubble – but you are only going to eat the savory, buttery textured beans inside. I have been freezing 1/2 a quart bag here and there as the pods plump up. Then they are easy to just dump in heavy-salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. You can then either let them cool naturally or do and ice bath to cool them down quicker.

Boiling over Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Stewed Tomatoes

Tis the time for preservation of the all-too-short season of growth. The Hub cranked out the first 4 quarts of stewed tomatoes. We have one determinate tomato (all fruit ripens about the same time) so we need to stay on top of it to reap the most benefits. Stewed tomatoes are quick, he added some onions too.

  1. Cut up tomatoes into rough chunks
  2. Cook over medium heat till desired reduction to intensify flavor
  3. Put into sterile quart jars
  4. Wipe rim clean
  5. Place on sterile lid and ring (tighten to slight resistance)
  6. Place in boiling water to depth that the lids are covered (sometimes it’s easier to keep it a little shallower and have a hot tea kettle standing by to top it off)
  7. Boil for 15 minutes
  8. Remove from boiling water and wait for the !POP! to know it is sealed – if one doesn’t, just refrigerate til you can use it.

Worst thing about the process is the residual steam when we are trying to keep our house cool and dry.

dragon beans

Other means of preservation: freezing

So far I’ve picked some edamame and froze them in quart size freezer bags. When ready to use, just boil up some salted water, drop them in for 5 min. or so, peal and enjoy.

Our Dragon Tongue Bush Beans are awesome. They are great fresh so I doubt we will need to preserve any. Even when they get big they are still good and not too fibery. When they are cooked though, they loose their distinct purple flecks.

Singing in the rain Friday, June 11th, 2010

Singing in the rain because I don’t have to lug watering cans back and forth through the garden. We have two rain barrels and two broken outdoor faucets so I get to do it the old-school way. It reminds me of hanging out with my paternal grandmother as she toted 5-gallon buckets around the farm to water and feed chickens, pigs, etc., using a cart on only the longest walks. Good grief she was strong.

I did get a chance to glance about the very muddy garden – I stayed out of it so as not to cause compaction. All my pumpkins, gourds, melon and beans have sprouted. They will need to be thinned a bit but I’m never sure how many to keep for good crop insurance vs. having my entire yard engulfed in vines. 2-3 maybe? At least until they start producing flowers.

My nasturtiums and cilantro that I planted weeks ago and almost gave up on have also shown up. I guess they just needed a few muggy, warm, wet days. Cilantro is always tricky to keep going long enough to pair it with the tomato and pepper harvest. I’m hoping my Slo-Bolt variety and the fact that I planted it in a cooler, shadier pocket of my yard will keep it producing and not bolting (going to seed) so quickly. Other varieties I’ve tried only produce a 1/2 dozen harvestable leaves and then up shoots the flowering seed head.

Can’t wait to hear about ‘Ladybug’s’ tomato taste reviews. Please send me any and all you have!

Garden . . . planted Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I just got done putting the last of my warm season crops in, all by seed. Vine crops, except for peas, tend to be warm season crops – think melons, squash, cucmbers, etc.

In my last open area I put up a couple ‘trellis’ (the sides of a crib my son had shaken to bits a couple years earlier) and under them planted a Kentucky Pole Bean – one leftover in my collection of seed, and a Dragon Tongue Bean, a Dutch Heirloom variety I got from Baker Creek Seeds. Both can be eaten whole or the latter, shelled. Now that I look closer at the package, these Dragon ones might be a bush crop so I won’t need to trellis them. I could’ve also soaked the beans before planting them to speed germination.

Another bush crop I planted is a winter squash, a bush buttercup also from Baker Creek. The next few squash I’ll speak of came from seeds I’d also tried last year. Most of which met their demise via squash borer (think giant maggot – totally gross!) But I’m trying again and going to be on the lookout for the first signs of damage, July on.

I also planted a Hubbard True Green Improved and two edible pumpkins – Winter Luxury Pie and a cheesecake pumpkin with the French name Rouge Vif d’Etampes (now isn’t that just fun to say), it can be harvested when still small. Another pumpkin with a French name that has a dull almost pink shell is Musquee De Provence I’m guessing is not edible but very pretty for arrangements, and maybe carving for Halloween.

The last thing I planted was a Charentais melon – these seeds I got in a swap with a friend. I don’t have much info but I’m thinking it resembles a cantoloupe.

The melon, and squash were all planted about 5 seeds to a hill to ensure 1-2 plants after thinning. Planting in hills allows for quicker soil warm up and quicker drainage as well as more oxygen into the soil. Make a small area at the top of each hill flat so seeds don’t wash away with watering.