Realization Of The Day:
Beans hide in the bush. I had no idea these were all waiting for me when I went out in the garden to pick beans this morning (although I did bring the right size stainless steel colander--extra large).
I don't much care for the gorgeous Dragon Langerie beans when they are cooked, so they have all been tucked in the fridge to be chopped up for salads or simply munched raw--plain or dipped in dressing. They are one of my very favorite beans to grow--add them to a crudite plate and it suddenly looks as though the caterer just popped by.
Note To Self: I am the only one in the household who likes the dragon beans. I picked over 1-1/2 pounds today from an 8-foot row, and there are lots more where those came from. I really need to remember to do smaller succession plantings.
The Straight 'N' Narrow beans are a different story. What you see here came from one 8-foot row, and the plants are still heavy with blossoms and young bounty. But that is fine with me because I want to be able to pick a bunch at a time. The majority of them will be quickly blanched, cooled in an ice bath, sealed up with my FoodSaver, and then tossed into the freezer to be enjoyed when the weather is cooler, appetites are heartier, and the garden isn't in full swing (e.g. when they'll be much more appreciated). This isn't a hugely time consuming job, but it does take time to get the operation all set up, and that vat of boiling water doesn't cool things down any--so it's not something I want to be doing every other day for just a handful of beans.
And it looks like I won't end up having to wait all summer for the rest of my bean bounty--I guess the fourth or fifth (or whatever planting this one is) was the charm. Two more rows of Straight 'N' Narrow have happily poked up out of the soil. Now all I have to do is keep the deer and my ravenous rabbit away from them.
As you can see, that totally munched Swiss Chard has already made somewhat of a comeback, although now the bugs are having a go at it. Don't be in a rush to yank something out that you think is a goner. Unless you desperately need the space, leave it in the ground. Many plants are extremely resilient and unwilling to give up simply because they've been decimated. Last year I watched my Nero di Toscana literally turn into lace overnight--twice!--and yet I let the plants alone. Once the high season for worms was over, I had a lovely harvest of my own. I'll let you know what happens with this chard. I have high hopes for a full and tasty comeback.
Sources: I purchased both of these bean seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds in Maine. I highly recommend the seeds and the seed company.
If you hand pick bush beans for a living, you deserve a raise--or a higher price for your harvest.