Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I've Bean Busy

At this point in the season, I feel like I'm trying to get so much done in terms of food preservation -- and doing so many things over and over to build up the pantry -- that I sometimes don't really know what to tell you.

I mean, over the weekend and into this week, I've probably dried about half a dozen baking sheets full of zucchini. And after the first sheet, it's not really newsworthy any more.

Still, I do have something new to report, and it tickles me that it involves my Victory Garden.

In planning this year's Victory Garden, I selected four kinds of beans in the hopes of being able to pick and dry them for winter: favas, garbanzos, cannellini, and Tiger Eye (like pinto).

Well, the results so far have been mixed: the favas have mostly been eaten fresh (though I've left some on the vines to dry), the garbanzos have mostly been eaten by some unknown visitor to the garden, and the cannellinis may well be succumbing to a similar fate.

The Tiger Eye beans, though, have held on, and after picking all the pods and pulling the plants on Sunday, I've spent some time shelling and drying the beans for winter.

On the left are the beans just out of the shells (the ones that didn't dry fully on the vine), and on the right you'll see the dried beans. Some looked that way right out of the pods, but the rest colored and hardened beautifully after spending the night in the oven.

And you'll also notice the occasional completely red bean, more like a kidney bean. Yes, those came from the same plants and sometimes even the same pods as the striped beans. I love genetic diversity!

Now that they're all dried, I can see I have just over a pint of dried beans. Not much in terms of winter storage, but it's more in the way of local dried beans than I had before, and it gives me hope for next year. (And yes, I'll try to save some of these beans to plant next year.)

It's bean a good harvest!

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At 8/07/2008 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many square feet did you plant to get your pint of beans? I'm trying to calculate how many beans I'd need to plant to really be able to grow my own.

At 8/07/2008 12:58 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Wow, Emily, I hadn't measured it, but I would say a rough estimate would be one square yard to plant the majority of a 2-oz packet of seeds (Tiger Eye Bean Organic from Fedco). Will have to see what yield I have on cannellini -- yield on garbanzos would have been low had the plants survived the munching!

I am definitely going to want more square footage for drying beans next year, but I'm not sure where. (And I need to touch base with you sometime about growing grain... will you be writing a wrap-up post? Or do you want to email me?)

At 8/07/2008 9:36 PM, Anonymous Janet said...

How cool! Beans are something I think of as inherently requiring large scale growing, although I don't know why I think that. Good luck with your next crop. For one square yard, I think it's a fine crop!

At 8/08/2008 6:58 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I went with small crops this year, Janet, because I knew I'd be trying a lot of new things in a relatively small space, and I didn't know what would work or not. I think the other beans would work well if I had better pest control. So I may try larger crops next year, if I can find space!

At 8/08/2008 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be writing about grain...someday... :) My winter wheat is in, but I haven't threshed it (might not, ever; it's only 25 stalks or so...) and the spring wheat hasn't even headed up.


At 7/06/2009 8:19 PM, Blogger Strata said...

I fell in love with the description of these beans and got a packet to plant this year. I started them indoors so the snails wouldn't get them (grr!) and I'm really hoping they do well.

Thanks for sharing the pictures of yours-- wow, they really color up after drying! I grow Scarlet Runner and Painted Lady runner beans every year for drying, and they don't change color nearly as much when they dry.

Just curious, how tall did yours grow? I have seen descriptions ranging from 2 feet to 4 feet for the height of these beans. Mine are about a foot and a few inches high, but have thrown up a runner from the center of the plant, so I put twine up for them. Dunno how tall they'll get!



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