Satisfying to grow, nourishing and tasty, too!
If Squire Blaska is proud of anything it is his green beans. Uncle Cy was the King of Corn and the Prince of Peas. His godson is the bean whisperer.
The unlettered field hands can hardly keep up with the harvest of Romano pole green beans here at the Blaska Experimental Work Farm and Penal Colony. Planted first batch (Hilda variety from Jung’s) after an overnight soak in inoculant on May 13. Thanks to 92-degree F temperatures and a timely rain they emerged six days later. Planted more at roughly five-day intervals. Threw in some Kentucky Wonder pole beans for variety.
Unlike the stoop labor required of bush beans, pole beans dangle down the wire hoops we constructed. Just walk underneath and pull them! Hoops constructed from 34-inch high hog wire in panels 16 feet long purchased at Farm & Fleet. “Panels,” not rolls because this wire is a stout 5 gauge. (Chicken wire is a flexible 20 gauge.) Provides structure. Drive two metal stakes into the ground, drape wire through stakes, bend and repeat on other side. It’s a two-person job.
We erected two hoops about 16 inches apart from each other and filled the gap with lighter gauge wire we had on hand, giving us (34 + 34 + 16 =) 84 feet in just one row. We plant the beans on the outside and inside on both sides of the hoop. Also draped the hog wire with lighter wire to provide more footholds from the grasping tendrils.
A real space saver
Reoriented the hoops this year north to south so we would have some crop rotation. Green beans pay off better in a cramped city garden than sweet corn. Pole beans even more so. They’ll bear through September.
We planted Jung’s delicious Buttercrunch bibb lettuce under the hoops. In the heat of mid-summer here in southern Wisconsin, the leafy beans provide a shading canopy, preventing the lettuce from bolting.
Fertilized beans just once with a dilute of urine in early June. (Found a seemingly inexhaustible source! “Gee Whiz,” Scientific American reports, an adult could fill three bathtubs a year! Maybe in YOUR bathtub, bub!) NPK is reported at 12-2-4. (This source recommends 1 cup per gallon. We used less but added a dollop of slower-acting fish emulsion, NPK 2-4-0.) Sprinkled the mixture on the ground next to the plants — not on them. An especially stupid field hand burned the Squire’s crop last year using too much of a good thing.
Harvested first pole beans July 20, a good 68 days after planting. The seed packet advertises 60 days, maybe as fingerlings? We take them big — 10 inches long. Might think they would be tough — not so!
Low in calories, zero fat. Loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins C and B vitamins. Lots of fiber to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Full of iron and calcium, too. (WebMD has the breakdown.)
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Steam (not boil!) for 10 minutes with a strip of bacon. Slather on butter, salt and pepper to taste. Freezer full of them. Eating a plateful now as your irascible host gums up the keyboard. Nothing better except sweet corn on the cob.
Doesn’t all that butter and salt compromise the healthy benefits of your beans? Just harvested my first tomato of the season–big, plump and juicy (unlike the styrofoam version in the supermarket). This is what’s meant by “the bounty of the earth.” And then there’s the therapeutic rewards of reaping what you’ve sown: a few minutes spent toiling in the garden is enough to make you forget you’re living in a progressive dystopia.
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Q. Doesn’t all that butter and salt compromise the healthy benefits of your beans?
A. Big time!
Oleo eater? Butter is healthy for you.
So long as it’s WESconsin Butter!
You’ll never regret that move on the Hog/Cattle Panel Hoop House, especially using the sheltered space underneath for the lettuce.
The Gotchberg Organic Gardens And Lefty Conversion Therapy Emporium invested in two (2) of the same from the same place. Transporting them was brutal, and having no friends, The Gotch wrestled them into place by himself; no mean feat, that!
Ours is for the Waltham Butternut Winter Squarsh, which is now laden with the rapidly growing buggers.
The Golden & Black Beauty Zukes are going gangbusters, and it’s been a banner year for the Sweet Success & Diva Cukes.
The Jefferson Giant, San Marzano, Yaqui Hybrid, and Stump Of The World Tomatoes are reddy (sic) and we had our 1st fresh tomato BLTs this a.m.; hundreds of other fruits ripening as we speak.
The Peppers? Fuggeddaboudit! The Mama Mia Giallo, Jimmy Nardello, Carmen, Sweet Sunset, Giant Marconi, Giant Anconcagua, et al plants are puttin’ out like crazy…can hardly wait to get ’em on the grill!
August is that time of which all we Tomato/Squarsh/Bean/Pepper/Kale/Cuke Ranchers dream, when all that effort is rounding 3rd base and heading for home.
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I’ve got a great recipe for pickled green beans!
Howse about an NONsweet pickling recipe for Zukes & Cukes? The one we’ve been using ain’t cutting it.
We’ve even gone so far as saving the juice from Famous Dave’s Zesty Dill-n-Garlic Pickles (a Damn Fine pickle, IMO) and putting the sliced Cukes in that.
Did you grow up outside of New York City? My father did in Westchester County, more specifically, North Salem.
He always referred to squash as squarsh. Instead of doing the wash, it was doing the warsh.
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Well…yeah…if you consider the 77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality to be outside of NYC…
While drawing the line at Squarsh, the (heh!) unbridled use of rural vernacular p!$$e$ off despicably effete Lefties to no end, and who’s The Gotch to deny them any opportunity for additional unhappiness-n-self-loathing.
On that subject, the Zuke crop (all started from seed) has been outfreakin’standing; at this stage of the game, and with the weather we’re having, they go from pedestrian to Honker in seemingly no time flat!
“Warsh” is very Milwaukee, too.
Yes, transporting brutal.
Upon further inspection, we got the 50″ instead of the 34″, so it appears the difference between Hog & Cattle is 16″.
Either way, we’re resting assured that them there panels will stay in place ’till someone takes ’em down.
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My Dad’s Mom and Dad had a garden as most people did during the depression. I grew up eating the food out of that same garden when I visited them. They also had peach and apple tree’s, that produced mighty tasty fruit.
Not much of a gardener myself. My neighbor always plants peppers, tomato’s, cucumbers and beans.
A lot of people in my neighborhood are more into the ornamental flowers than they are growing food.