Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bean Counter

These days, I am enjoying some good quality time with my Dry Edible Beans. We have 20 different varieties, 19 of which we grew this year. They are all lined up proudly in their Heirloom Jars on a makeshift table in the Dining Room. Gee, are they beautiful.

On this day, I am making notes about my observations of the growth habit and productivity of Varieties of Dry Edible Beans for this Season. I am checking back to the Seed Packs, Catalogs and my Observations for any pieces of information. Any information that I glean will be very useful in planning for next year's Garden.

For starters, I know that some areas of the Garden were too wet during the early Summer and the Beans planted there did not germinate. From my observation, I would conclude that Bean Plants need well drained Soil. After 3 growing Seasons, we are learning a lot about the special characteristics of specific parts of our Garden. They are all different.

Pole Beans need to be staked early on. Note to Self: Don't delay. Try planting them around the outside Fence. Keep that area well weeded so that they are not shaded out.

Wherever I plant the Beans, the area needs to be well weeded, which we kept on top of. The Straw Mulch worked well.

I need to pay more attention to the length from planting to Harvest. Some do require a goodly amount of time. That simple factor makes a huge difference in the Harvest. The Mayflower Beans were an example. I lost a lot of those beautiful Beans due to the fact that they were not as mature as they needed to be at harvest.

I am also saving Seeds. Since Beans are largely self pollinating, I am saving Seeds with some assurance that they will come back true. When in doubt (which is what I was with the Hidatsa Shield Figure Beans), I do not save.

Richard tells me that 75 Seeds equals about a 25 Foot Row in the Garden. While Seed Packs are variable, a fairly common amount is 75. So I am saving about 150 per each. I plan to plant more next year.

Pondering my Beans has led me to wonder about Crop Rotation for next year. Beans are "givers", fixing Nitrogen in the Soil. As much as I love my Beans, I am even more smitten with them thinking about how they are "givers". What will be the best Plants to utilize their space and their gifts next year? Richard has pulled out some of our texts which should be very good aids in figuring this out. I don't have time to think about it much right now.

I had not realized that counting and spending time with Beans could be so rewarding. Simple actions on the Farm are the best.

1 comment:

Sue said...

I found that the "days to harvest" for most of the vegetables I grew didn't even come close to what the labels said. I think the weather had a LOT to do with that.
My "Early Girl" tomato was supposed to start bearing at 60 days from was actually 73 day,
Your beans, by the way, look lovely.