Wednesday, July 10, 2013

June 3-7

This week in Gardening!  It was a big week for beans.  Although the cool weather has given us a tremendous season for peas, the yields are starting to taper off just in time for beans to start producing.  We have a lot of varieties this year ranging from the historic Cherokee Trail, to Purple Bush, and Scarlet Runners.  The Scarlett Runner Beans have been planted in the dodecahedron as part of our attempt at the 3 sisters (corn, beans, and squash), and they will look beautiful.

Ivy uses her Cat's Cradle skills to make trellis for our climbing beans
While the Scarlett Runners will be a big show with lots of flowers and delicious beans, I am most excited for the Milk and Cider beans that were planted in the hay bales on the north side of the garden.  Months ago volunteers built a trellis out of pruned fruit wood with a beautiful aesthetic. Last weekend a team punched holes in the bales at the base of the trellis, filled them with fresh compost and planted Milk and Cider beans to grow up the trellis.  These beans are an enticing cider color with mottled splashes of white.  The goal is to allow these beans to grow and dry on the plant rather than be picked as "green beans".  The beans will be an impressive addition to every dinner plate they touch.
Dario sifts compost to be stuffed into hay bales for bean planting

Hay bales stuffed with Milk and Cider beans and compost
John offers a drink to the newly planted beans

And beans are amazing and a magical fruit and fix nitrogen and are just one of the healthiest things you can eat, but... they simply don't have the swagger of raspberries.  Melville identified the lack of sex appeal in beans when he wrote, "In this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim)."

This was our first substantial raspberry harvest of the year and more substantial harvests will come.  It's hard to pick the delicate Rubus idaeus without sampling every few for quality, but well disciplined volunteers are responsible for this bounty.

And what's this?  Our first Black Raspberries have appeared.  Rubus occidentalis is not to be confused with Blackberries, which are not actually berries at all (we don't grow blackberries, so I'll leave that alone), but instead are just a cultural shift from their red raspberry cousins.  The brambles are dense and need better trellising, but they are healthy and volunteers who wade in to get the fruit are not begrudged for replenishing themselves.

This week also brought another large harvest of leafy greens, which, it turns out, solve every problem your body can imagine.  Some of the greens are varieties of Kale, and some are Collards, but growing underneath some greens are beets!  Golden beets (pictured) and Bull's Blood beets and Chioggia beets.  Under some of the other greens are radishes, French Breakfast, Crimson Giant, and Easter Egg (I think).  Some of the radishes look bizarre (pictured).

Under other leaves are Potatoes, but those are not edible greens and the potatoes aren't ready to harvest yet, so we will save that post.

Thanks to all the volunteers who did such hard work harvesting, planting, transplanting and maintaining so that the garden get's to show off its good side.