This weekend was glorious and the weather motivated me to get cracking on this year’s gardening experiment. Last year, I started Square Foot Gardening and made 3 raised garden beds. This year, I gave over one of those beds to flowers, one has greens and sugar snap peas, and the one on the deck has tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. The big garden went to seed last year, and was home to Mildred the chicken the previous year. But this year, I was determined to use it.
I joined Seedsavers during the winter, and when the catalog came, I was just stunned by the sheer variety of dry beans available. An early bout of I Must Win at the Fair kicked in and I decided that my goal would be a ribbon-winning soup bean mix. I have no idea if that is even a category, but surely mine would be so amazing that they’d make one just so I could win it. I filled out order forms to get a nice range of colors and waited for spring. With spring came weird weather, a gazillion end-of-school-year child obligations, and little spare time, which meant I didn’t get down to the garden until this weekend.
Confession: I really only like gardening until about mid-June. Then I’m done. That’s why square foot was nice–little weeding, and I could just slap a flower in a spot I no longer felt like dealing with. The big garden is alllll the way down in my yard. It is a pathetic fact that I seldom go down into the yard b/c that means I have to trudge back up the hill to get to the house. One generation out of the mountains and I’m already spoiled. In past years, that garden has been abandoned toward the end of the summer, crops left to rot and pestilence. I know what I’m up against–my lazy is strong–so I am planning accordingly and trying out something new.
I hoed and weeded the whole plot and covered it with newspaper and straw. I’m told this will inhibit weed growth. I hope it is true. Then I dug little holes, placed a paper cup that I’ve cut the bottoms out of in the hole, dropped in four beans, and covered them with earth.
I’ll pull out all the the strongest of the sprouts. My hope is that I’ll have this nice straw-strewn plot with bean plants poking up. They’re all bush beans, but I’m wondering if I should have cages ready nonetheless…
I’ve planted between 3 and 5 each (or it will be once I’ve thinned) of 11 varieties of bean.
“Damn Girl,” you must be thinking, “you must eat a lot of beans!” No. Actually I do not. I have nothing against them, but canned beans are mushy and I just don’t have good luck getting dried beans to cook. I don’t know if I have a lousy source or a cursed house, or what, but I’m hoping that growing my own will be the ticket. Plus, while listening to The Splendid Table, I heard of a book about heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. So I ordered that and it looks fab, plus there’s a pretty cool, if not particularly vegetarian, blog. And, of course, I am always inspired by Mary Jane Butters and fancy the FarmGirl life. in the abstract, of course. In reality I am deeply suspicious.