Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Look At Them Beans

Green beans are a great side dish that can accompany just about any meal.  I have even heard that fresh home-canned green beans will cure what ails you.

Around these parts, a drought weather pattern along with Summertime temperatures in the late Spring  accompanied by an onslaught of Japanese Beetles have left gardeners in this part of the country scratching their heads with nothing to show for their efforts but exercise.  Not to mention, none of those fresh homegrown green beans.

It pays to know your enemy when you are an organic gardener.  A friend of mine once said, "You can't make a crop on air and dirt," and he was right.  Healthy soil and timing is what it's all about. Healthy soil makes healthy plants and healthy plants are more resistance to pests and disease and can provide a greater yield.  In this case the beetles were more prevalent earlier in the season.

The beans shown in the photo were grew for a Fall harvest.  They were planted on dates our local Extention Service recommended for Fall harvests. The variety is Blue Lake Stringless and is the runner version.  I have experimented with the Bush type and had to just about stand on my head to pick them so I have found that the extra work involved in providing some sort of support for the runner version pays back a great reward during harvest time.  Here I have used landscape timbers for posts and cattle panels in between.  Some folks bend the cattle panels into an arch and plant the green beans on either side and make a fun "green been tunnel" that kids like to run through.  Either way, support is great.

The soil was amended with a few inches of fresh mule manure in the Spring and when the beans were planted in the Summer and began their climb up the trellis they were fertilized with llama manure tea.

LLama Manure Tea

Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/3 full of fresh llama manure (or goat, as it has similar characteristics)
Fill the remainder of the bucket of manure with water, an old rag or cloth can cover the bucket to discourage vermin .

Let steep for about 3 days and then pour this liquid along the green bean row by the side of the plants, no need to strain the manure.

My Grannie began the tradition of planting the Blue Lake variety, a tender, stringless green bean that has a mild flavor many years ago to serve my Dad when he came to Dinner.  His previous experience with green beans had been with the stringy variety. He was not a big fan of green beans, but he was a fan of my Mom, and this variety.    

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