Archive for October, 2008

Fall color: beans.

beans.jpg

All in all, I think we ended up with twelve bean varieties, though some didn’t do so well in the face of marauding deer.

We only grew a bit of each variety, just to see what works best in our garden’s mesoclimate (that’s the boy’s new favorite word, there).

The varieties:
bottom row, left to right
Jacob’s Cattle Beans, Hidatsa Red Beans, Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, Black Turtle Beans
middle “row”
Ireland Creek Annie Beans, Yellow Indian Woman Beans, Good Mother Stallard Beans
bread pan
October Beans
top row
Marfax Beans, Tiger Eye Beans
not pictured
True Red Cranberry Beans, Fagiolo Rampicante di Spagna a Grano Bianco (fat white italian/spanish runner beans)

So far, my favorites are the Italian white beans (so fat and meaty), the Tiger Eyes (so creamy), and the True Red Cranberries (so incredibly tasty). I have yet to taste them all, though.

The most productive varieties in our Zone 6, deer- and horseweed-challenged, southwest-facing clay were: Good Mother Stallard, October, Cherokee Trail of Tears, and Black Turtle.

Because we didn’t grow too many beans, we shelled them by hand. But that can be tedious. There are many creative ways to thresh beans. The National Gardening Association has some good basic instructions.

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First freeze, last harvest.

peppersandbeans1.jpg

We’ve had hard freezes here for two nights in a row now, so the tender things had to come out of the garden. We pulled out several gallons of peppers and tomatoes (red and green), four or five hot pepper plants for drying (we just hung the whole plants upside down in the room with the woodstove), many many dry beans (ten or eleven different kinds — I’ll post on them separately), and a few stray butternut squashes. Now I feel like it’s really fall.

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Northeast Community Herbal Convergence 2008

I’m off to teach at the Northeast Community Herbal Convergence in Ashfield, Massachusetts this weekend.

I’m going to teach a class on working with people who are drained and deficient — why do we see so much of this lately, and what can we do about it? We’ll talk about some of my favorite herbs: bee balm, rosemary, basil, cinnamon, cardamom, caraway, marshmallow, flax, nettle seeds.

If you’re in the area, come by! (The Convergence is great fun.)

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