August 6, 2011

Operation Green Bean Rescue

Last week I showed you my corn jungle. I might have been able to just leave it and wait for corn harvest, except that I have green beans companion planted with the corn. Trying to find and harvest those beans was going to be a challenge if I didn't do something.

The problem was that the weeds were so thick, that as I walked through them, I couldn't see where I was putting my feet. Now, I'm not afraid of snakes, but when traipsing through wood and field, I always, always look at the ground before I put my foot down. We've never seen any venomous snakes around, but they can be found in our part of the country. I figure too, that even a non-venomous snake like the frequent rat snakes we see, would likely bite if stepped on. This meant I needed to do something about the weed jungle in our corn. I decided to try one of Jane's ideas, lawnmowing it. Here's a reminder of what it looked like before ....

Weed covered main path

Here's what it looked like after I mowed it ....

I have to say that we have a great lawnmower for this. It's a Husqvarna push mower, and takes tall growth like this in stride. I also tried to mow some paths where the corn was planted farthest apart.

Some beans were easy to find...

Others were hidden in the morning glories...

I pulled a lot of weeds by hand while I was there, especially morning glories where I found them rooted. One disappointment....

My pumpkin plant is not growing a pumpkin. :( Looks like I need to hone up on my seed saving skills.

I got a respectable first picking. Some beans were too mature, and while not enough to can, there was plenty for the summer's first eating.


  1. Leigh - Looks great.

    S'funny - when I was a kid I HATED green beans - now I can get enough of them, in any form whatsoever. (french beans, broad beans, etc.)

    Apart from simply slathering with butter and gobbling down, I also like cooking them with a medium peeled potato, and a peeled chopped onion. When they are all cooked, add S&P, butter and cream, and mash. Delicious winter veg :)

  2. Don't feel bad about the weeds, I had the same problem this year due to working too much. Your patch looks wonderful! Nothing better than fresh green beans from the garden for supper

  3. I think I need a bean education. I grew green and yellow bush beans. (YUM) I hear a lot about pole beans and always assume that they're "tougher" texture-wise than the bush beans. I hear about "broad" beans in the SAfrica-Australian blogs I read. What's a "broad" bean? And I'd really like to try growing soup beans(dried?) next year.

    Is there a bean primer out there?

  4. Wow, your not kidding that lawnmower did a great job. I am sure that made harvesting much better.

  5. Call me wimpy, but I don't think I'd like to have to go on such a hunt to find my green beans!

    I think there's something weird going on this year in regard to planted seeds not growing into what they are supposed to be. (Thinking of your "pumpkin.") I have some radishes that got away from me (tennis ball size!) but for some fortunate reason, they are still quite edible. I pulled a couple before dinner a night or so ago and one "radish" was a lovely purple topped turnip!

  6. That is a rather funny looking pumpkin you have there, but I'm sure it will still be good to eat. Enjoy those beans...I like your new header.

  7. your pumpkin didnt grow a pumpkin! sorry that made me laugh :D
    you went nutty pulling weeds! isnt it amazing how you get carried away yanking and flinging weeds

  8. Thats a great lawnmower, but then again I think anything that Husqvarna makes is top notch! It will certainly make it a bit more relaxing walking though the corn rows in search for your beans . . . nothing for the snakes to hide in!

    Your first harvest of beans looks mighty tasty.

  9. Dani, thanks! I didn't mind green beans but never cared for limas. Neither did Dan but I'm growing some this year to see if fresh grown makes a difference!

    Stephanie, it's true, and we've really enjoyed our green beans. This was one area we did little to stop the weeds and what a mess. I concentrated more on the main vegetable garden!

    Tami, I think it depends when they're harvested. As far as I can tell, they're pretty much the same, not counting individual flavor for various varieties. I like the pole beans really, because it means less stooping and bending to pick!

    Jane definitely! So glad you mentioned it.

    MamaPea, I've about come to the same conclusion. Planting 3-Sisters was a good experiment, but I think for field corn, we'll go monoculture next year and practice companion planting as sequence crops.

    Mr H, thanks! I'll probably give the pumpkaloupe, or cukapump, or whatever it is to the goats!

    Peaceful, at least it was good for something! LOL. If it wasn't for that lawnmower, I don't think I'd have even found any green beans. :)

    CaliforniaGrammy, I have to agree with you about Husqvarna. Our chainsaw is a Husqvarna and we've no complaints about it. We did do some research on the lawnmower, and got the model folks with terrain like ours liked.

  10. Leigh, Garden is look great. I love the idea of mowing the rows of weeds!!!! I love green beans!! Are you canning or freezing them?

  11. I love that someone else has the same amount of weeds as I do :-)

  12. I have 7 beans so far...6 purple and one green...only the 6 purple turned green in the freezer. oh well. I'm very tempted to dig up my plants and move them into the sun so I can get some veggies.

    I'm glad you got enough to eat...I get to freeze mine and wait for my dinner.

  13. We've been having lots of green beans for supper - the purple pole beans are a complete bust this year, but The Shepherd has a theory about some compost that he put on there last winter - turns out it was contaminated with some kind of herbicide (long story - big scandal in the organic community) - he thinks that's what inhibited the bean plant growt. Oh, well, there's always next year. (and Western Family frozen green beans...)

    Loved your story about the baby chicks. T.

  14. Oh, I'm afraid your pumpkin not being a pumpkin made me laugh! You're very much not the only one in this boat: if you haven't already, you need to read Toni's very short and pithy Squash Wars post.

  15. Barb, I hope to can them, when I get a big enough batch. I'm starting to run out of room in my freezer, so I need alternatives for some things.

    Dr. Momi, so glad to discover I'm not alone! LOL

    Renee, but the nice thing about freezing is that you can do that! Canning needs a goodly amount to deal with because it isn't practical to can only one jar. :(

    I have a hard time pulling plants myself, something I definitely need to learn to do!

    Tina, what a shame about the compost. I take it is wasn't some you made yourselves. Very wise to plant more than one type!

    Alison, too funny. I don't feel so bad! But I do lament not getting any pumpkins! ;)

  16. Oh my goodness, Leigh, your "pumpkin" made me laugh. I have had dreadful luck with pumpkins. My first one was going great guns and I just knew I was going to get a great pumpkin from it. Until the day my then boyfriend came in from mowing the lawn, so proud he had mowed up all of that horrible vine out there. The next one was weed-whacked by my neighbors. Thanks, Guys. The third one actually grew a fruit. It was a weird looking pumpkin, but I was so excited. Finally it produced green and yellow stripes - that watermelon was delicious!

  17. I think I heard somewhere that to keep plants from cross pollinating they have to 1/4 mile apart...

    Seed saving is admirable, but the downside, as you discovered, is the unintended hybrids that are not necessarily usable. One method is to grow plants that have different maturity rates (like corn - early, middle, late), so that they set flowers at different times. Another is much more labor intensive - you hand pollinate the flower, and then tie it shut so nothing can "pollute" it with other pollen.

    Love the lawnmower approach - we often have to use brush hogs to clear blackberries!!

  18. Grace, pathetic, isn't it? Not too many folks seem to be doing well with pumpkins. I had to laugh about your attempts. Dan is almost afraid to do any weeding or mowing unless I mark everything! He's afraid he'll do something in that I'm planning for us to eat, LOL.

    Laura, I know not all squashes, melons, etc will cross, but I don't have a handle on which ones. I thought about the bag method, similar to what you describe except covering the flowers with paper bags to prevent crosses. The staggered planting has worked with my corn and popcorn, just not sure about those melons and squash!

  19. A squash plant! That is so funny. We have a volunteer growing in the grass by our compost bin. We thought it was a squash plant. It's hard to tell, but the tiny fruit that has begun to grow looks more like a pumpkin! The strange thing is that we've never grown pumpkins around here!

  20. Your new "sidebar" (background?) photos on your blogs front page are just gorgeous!

  21. Jody, how funny. Have you bought any pumpkins and discarded them in the compost? Or it may be the parent to another hybrid!

    Project Girl, thanks!


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