Sunday, June 11, 2006

What's Growin' On: 6/11/06

Straight 'N' Narrow Beans, Giant Fordhook Chard, & Way Too Much Bare Dirt

Realization Of The Day:
I forgot to make a note of what kind of beans I re-planted here and when I planted them. But it doesn't seem to matter, as they appear to be doing a no-show like the three out of four rows from the first planting.

This has not been a good year for beans in my garden. And last year was pretty pitiful, too. Surprising since this is one of the few crops I've been able to totally depend on doing well year after year--no matter what variety I plant and even when I plant them. They are easy to grow, not fussy at all, can withstand our hot and humid summers without complaining, and require practically no attention other than watering. Usually by this time I am already happily tossing bags of blanched and sealed beans (I love my FoodSaver) into the freezer to be enjoyed all winter long.

I think there are several reasons for the bummer bean crop so far. The soil can't be one of them, though, as I did get that single row of Straight 'N' Narrows to come up. And I've successfully grown beans in nearly all of my raised beds at one time or another (rotate! rotate! rotate!) even though I think the soil is a little different in each of them.

First of all, some of the beans I planted were a few years old, though this has never been a problem before. (Where oh where are all the 2006 packets of beans I'm pretty sure I bought?)

Secondly, we have about a zillion moles living on the farm with us, and I think I spotted mole tunnels going right along my rows of planted beans the other day. I know that moles can paddle their way through 160 feet of dirt in one night, but I have no idea what they eat. My dried and buried beans?

Above ground, this poor plot has also been visited more than once by at least one bean munching thief, though the plants have come back nicely. It was most likely a deer or rabbit (I've seen both near the garden), and I have also found some sort of hoof/paw prints running across the bed on more than one morning. Then there is the big scratched out area you can see in the photo. I'm blaming one of the cats on that.

Who knows, though. A lot of stuff goes on in the garden when I am not looking. At least I have the one row of Straight 'N' Narrow, and I noticed flowers on it just a little while ago. I love these thin, sweet filet beans, and on my way from the garden to the computer, I happened upon the rest of the 2006 packet of them (for some reason I have little bundles of seed packets in about 16 places around the house this year). Why I didn't plant them when I planted the other row back in April I have no idea. Maybe I wanted to use up the old ones first. Even I can't figure out how my mind works half the time. Must be all the fresh air.


  1. I totally understand your comment about how your mind works... I can actually understand how mine does work - and it scares me.... I spent the day in 29 C - 90 degrees moving corn (thinning) into four beds that didn't come up. Old seeds. Should have know better. I have no idea if this will work but I think I lost five pounds of sweat thinning and replanting!!

    We lucked out at the golf course perennial sale today. About $30 and two trees and about a dozen plants. Too hot to plant and plan to do it now. Riiigghhhhttt..! Actually I still have hopes.

    I sure enjoy your blog buy the way. It is inspirational!


  2. I think that bare patch needs some collards or radishes. Those are what I plant when I have extra room.

    My bean thieves would chase your bean thieves away. The main predator of my green beans is my dogs. I made the mistake of giving them a couple and they quickly figured out they could pick them all by themselves.

  3. Sounds like you’ve got some sort of restaurant for bean eaters going on ... moles, deer, rabbits ... as well as the cats keeping the ground warm ...

    Totally understand about the missing seeds ... they’re probably in the same place I left the sweetpeas that I bought for planting this year ... and those I bought last year ... and those I bought the year before ... what was I saying?

  4. What about planting another round of beans in the blank spot. Have you tried innoculating the beans? I had some spots that never sprouted last year, got some innoculant, replanted, and had better luck. I'm afraid I've got some empty spots in my maxibels this year, but last I checked the blue lakes were coming up gang busters! (Even through the footprints of one of my little garden helpers who ran through a planted area rather than down the path next to it!)

  5. I know moles will go after your potatoes, but I can't imagine why they're hanging around the beans...

  6. i thought moles ate grubs and other worms?

    we had bad luck with our first proud row of edamame (soybean). however, it turned out we had planted too soon- our newest attempt is a complete success.

    we are trelissing many of our tomatoes this year. about 1/3 are staked (but not pruned, we are no-pruners here) , and 2/3 are trelissed. a spare 4 plants are left to sprawl as our experiment. after all, tomatoes are not meant to grow upright. we shall see!

    i have been meaning to ask if you could talk about aphids. i have had the worst time of it with them on the tomatoes and while i have found some organic things that work (Safer soap, DE) they keep coming back and my tomatoes are stressed by this. any ideas?

    thanks! tabitha

  7. I'm responding to Tabitha's question about aphids. My yard used to have an aphid problem, and although they are still around, I don't have infestation problems anymore. What I have done is 1) wash the aphids off mechanically, either with soapy water, water, or squishing them with a gloved hand, 2) planted lots of native and high nectar flowers that bloom over the course of the season so that something is always blooming to attract beneficial insects. Then I waited. Now I have a good population of beneficial insects, including ladybugs and lacewings. Also while you mechanically dislodge aphids, watch for the small yellow eggs of the ladybug on the bottom of leaves -- you may also want to keep a few aphids in that spot for the young ladybugs to feed on. I've also heard that planting garlic in trouble spots can help, because aphids don't like the smell of garlic, but I haven't tried this.


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!