Bean Garden update

7 08 2009

Well, if society falls and the grocery stores close and the zombies attack at least we’ll have beans.

yes, the weeds lining the garden are spectacular.

yes, the weeds lining the garden are spectacular.

There are a lot of bug nibbles on the leaves and some on the beans, but I think I’ll still have plenty in the end.

koronis purple

koronis purple

The newpaper and straw method has worked well. Weeds do poke up here and there, but the earth stays moist enough under that stuff (or at least it has in this blessedly wet summer) that I can yank them up easily.

Now I have to hope they dry quickly enough that I can enter them in the fair!


Gardening update

23 06 2009

The rain is making my beans grow like crazy.  I went down to thin them and they were a foot high!  And liberally munched on by some nefarious creature…

whatever it is, it doesnt like oregano...

whatever it is, it doesn't like oregano...

Now you know I”m captain organic, but seeing that made me reach for the DDT.  Luckily, we were out.  When I can see the critters, I can pluck them off, but I could find nothing on the leaves.  Well, except bug doots and gaping holes.  So I got some BioNEEM from the Common Market.  It’s “Safer brand”  for what that is worth.  I don’t mind if the plants aren’t pretty, but I do need them to survive to produce beans.

I also thinned them, which seems just mean at this stage.  They’re all half-grown.  It’s like a partial-birth thinning.  But I did it, and I removed the plastic cups and some of the paper ones.  They’re all tall and bean-y:

They’re all supposed to be bush varieties.  Let’s hope that’s true.

Found this little guy while I was weeding:

No coat.  Mustve lost it on Mr.MacGregors fence.

No coat. Must've lost it on Mr.MacGregor's fence.

Cute little bugger.  Better not eat my plants.

Garden 2009

1 06 2009

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.

see?   Look how far DOWN it is!

see? Look how far DOWN it is!

“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.