Friday, August 17, 2012

The Year of the Bean

Each summer's vegetable garden produces a surplus of some vegetables and a shortage of others, usually due to the vagaries of weather, insect pests and my own random planting patterns.

This year is definitely the Year of the Bean.

I planted four long rows of yellow wax beans and green string beans and I just can't keep up with picking them.

I also tried edamame for the first time this year.

I made this beautiful and delicious summer salad with the edamame I grew, along with my tomatoes:

I pictured myself eating this salad all summer long, but in truth I've only had it twice, mainly because the edamame takes so long to mature. And that's its main drawback, as far as I can see. I also failed to plant anywheres near a sufficient number of them to really enjoy them en masse. Mine are a little tiny; I may have harvested a tad early, but I read so many warnings that there's just a narrow window of time, about 10 days, to harvest the pods before they become inedible. So I watched them closely once they appeared, trying to determine if they were "bright green" (when they should be picked) or "yellowish green, when it was supposedly too late.

Unlike the yellow and green beans, which mature rapidly and can be picked for quite some time, the edamame takes up valuable real estate in the garden but is only harvestable right about now.

They're said to ripen all at the same time and so you're supposed to pull up the whole plant by the roots, as I did, and then boil the whole pods for five minutes. After that, you can easily push the beans out of the pods.

I have only so much space in the garden, so I don't know whether I'd want to plant them again next year. It was a novelty growing them, but perhaps it would be easier to buy them frozen and save space in the garden for faster growers.

In other garden news...

My single zucchini plant and single yellow squash plant bit the dust a few weeks ago, victims of the squash vine borer. I did manage to get 9 zucchinis and 3 yellow squashes, though.

My three cucumber vines also are gone due to wilt. Enjoyed 12 English cucumbers beforehand.

I'll have a complete wrapup of the season's total harvest and its monetary value, based on the organic equivalent found in the supermarket.

Right now, it's Tomato Time and I've been freezing them every other day now.