7.25.2008

The story of my bush beans

My garden is not just a work of my own- I get help. Here's the story of my bean crop, as an example of how I'm relying on others' wisdom to make it through my first year!

The Seeds
Once upon a time, last fall, a kind blogger I recently had started reading said she had a bumper crop of beans that year, and wanted to save some seed and mail it out to willing takers. The house-buying adventure was in full swing at that point, and I knew I'd have a garden this year. I also knew I didn't want to mess with pole beans again, after last year's fiasco. I sent an email off to Katie in hopes of getting some bush bean seeds donated to my future garden! A few weeks later, the seeds showed up in the mail, in the cutest packets. Katie's now blogging at Two Frog Home.


handcrafted jewelry
The Planting & Growing
OK, this one I did on my own. The plants sprouted and grew happily. I shouldn't say I did this on my own- I may plant, but God did the watering and growing parts. I just stand by and watch in awe.

The Harvest
Stephanie provided tips for harvesting beans, and I sure did need them! I've tried to harvest every day or every other day to stay ahead of production, so the plants will keep producing. I also learned what she meant by "pick gently"- I've been careless and pulled entire branches off of plants! Josh has even helped me harvest some, too, and that makes the work go quicker (because I only have to do half as much of it!).


The Preservation
After harvesting for about a week & a half and realizing there's no way we'd be able to eat the beans at the rate the bushes produce (shoulda known that one), I asked my friend, half of the Farming Engineers, to teach me to can the beans last Friday. I met her at her house after work with 4 1-gallon Ziploc bags full of beans in tow, and we got busy canning. I was so glad to learn the process- to be honest, I was intimidated by the whole thing, but actually going through it with someone who knew what they were doing made it seem simpler. By the end of the night, we canned 19 pints of green beans (well, 22, but 3 didn't seal). These will last us a long while. And, I have two and a half more 1-gallon bags full of fresh beans in my fridge right now. These will probably end up being frozen- we're actively looking for a chest freezer- or given away (Beth!).

Bean production on the plants seems to be slowing, but who knows- maybe I've just caught up with it. In other garden news, raccoons keep stealing my corn, so I don't know if I'll have any at all. Pumpkins are forming. Sunflowers are blooming. I didn't get around to planting anything for the fall- I'm not sure if it's too late. And, amazingly, I'm already thinking of next year, with all that I've learned from my first stab at gardening this season!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, how spoiled you will become with your personally canned beans! Growing up I never had any thing that wasn't grown from my grandma's garden. Even now I refuse to buy canned from the store. Because of time I will buy flash-frozen beans. God bless grandma!

Kathie said...

Yay! I'm so gosh darn excited that the beans have worked out for you. Congrats on canning them, too. I know we loved them all through the winter this past year. If you need a few pointers on saving the seed for yourself for next year, let me know. Beans are super easy seeds to save.

Joanna said...

Kathie-I KNEW you'd be proud of me for canning them :-P

When I get tired of harvesting the beans, I'll probably leave the remaining beans to dry to save seeds. That's what I've done with my pea plants, and I'm excited to see how that turns out.

Kiel said...

Hey Joanna!
If you're looking for a chest freezer, check out FreeCycle.org or Craig's List. Sometimes you come across one that's free or reasonably priced. :)

Joanna said...

Kiel- we got one last night for $50 on Craigslist. There was one on Freecycle a few days ago, but I wasn't fast enough calling about it :-P

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