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What's for Dinner in the Vegetable Garden? Everything!

Monday, August 14, 2017

In the vegetable garden, the first two rows of beans are sighing their last. The second two rows are just kicking in. Oh huzzah! My goal was to have beans all summer long. That's my goal every summer, but it's always too dry to pull it off. Not this year! I'm so excited to pick them tonight. Nothing like a tender snap bean from the garden, steamed, with butter and salt. I'm drooling as I write. 

I plant a mix of Royal Burgundy, Brittle Wax and Blue Lake so it makes a beautiful sight in the garden trug. I got so carried away I soaked and planted two more rows on August 1. Maybe we'll have an extended warm fall like last year, when I was photographing morning glories in November. I can dream. And what's the worst that can happen? They freeze before they bear. I can take a risk like that, give 100 dry beans to the cause of having fresh snap beans to eat in October. 

I learned a valuable lesson last year when I planted four rows of beans at once. Picking became a chore, and we barely were able to eat them all before they got so big they had to be stewed with bacon. And then when they were all done I missed them, but I didn't miss picking them! Good problem to have, but I'm much happier with two rows of about 70 plants total, followed about three weeks later by another two rows coming in. I'm not a canner any more. I believe in gorging when they're in, and giving away what you can't eat yourself. So far, we're keeping up!

Just behind the beans...

I planted too many Sungold tomatoes and not enough slicers this year. I was all fired up about Kumatos, a tasty little brown tomato, so I saved some seed from some I bought in the grocery store. They're a disappointment, splitting with all the rain and not getting much bigger than a squash ball. The Sungolds aren't all that happy with the cool rainy year, but they're putting out gobs of little sugar bombs. Can't complain! Stewed, fresh, in stir-fries, quiches, soups, I love 'em beyond saying. 

That was my big smile. This is my thoughtful, author jacket look. Where is my meershaum pipe?

I broke down and bought a bunch of glads this spring after losing mine to disease and I don't know what all. They've been such a joy! I can't wait to see how big the bulbs grew when I dig them this fall. Some people don't like digging bulbs. I love it. It's like finding buried treasure. And it kind of beats winter back to pull these freely multiplying jewels out of the soil in November and dream about next June, wondering what colors you'll get. "Blue Moon" mix has been spectacular. 

I'm done hearing about how much people hate glads because they remind them of funerals. Bla bla bla. Tell me something new, something I haven't heard a hundred times.  I'll admit this is a hot button for me because I had a landlady once who scoffed at my taste in flowers and told me why she hated glads oh, about twenty times. As I listened silently to her monologue, I resolved to plant two more rows of them the next spring. 

 Remember, they're called glads!

I've never had a violet like this one. 

Still hatin' on 'em?

And the fresh lavender (Paradise Purple, as garden writer Thalassa Cruso called it, because she contended that all the plants in Paradise started out this color) is such a great compliment to the lime-green bean leaves. Growing glads amongst the vegetables is one of my favorite things to do. They take so little room and they make going out to pick such a pleasure.

Mm, mm. Good.  Happy. Anything but funereal. Besides, they're from South Africa, like about 75% of all the coolest plants on the planet.

Love this sunflower covering her face. 

This same blossom is now hanging down like a showerhead, heavy with seed, and the goldfinches and cardinals have started in on it. 

I haven't grown ornamental sunflowers for years. Oh what fun they are!! Here's Velvet Queen.

Now that's a plant that takes as much room as you'll give it, so I'm glad I planted only a few. The rabbits got all the ones I tried to plant in the heirloom garden where I could see them from the studio. The only ones that survived are inside the 9' tall Jurassic Garden enclosure. 

This is Lemon Queen. Well named! Sunflowers take a lot of room, but they make me and the cardinals, house finches and goldfinches so happy. 


I used to feel the funeral ugh about glads. Then I saw a garden full of them with bees, butterflies and hummers all enjoying the colorful display. It gave me a new appreciation of these gorgeous bloomers. The colors are so intense and such a variety of color, who could want more? I have even had some corms survive winter. I guess I didn't get them all dug up and they bloomed beautifully. I don't think I have ever seen these purple/violet varieties. I will have to look for some.

I have never equated glads with funerals. Kind of weird because I see plenty of other flowers at funerals, too, and no one is complaining about those are they? I love glads, they remind me of my grandmother, as many flowers often do. She loved her garden.

We blanch and freeze our beans in a vacuum sealed bag. Works out pretty well and we already have our fill of beans for the year but I'm going for another round of beans into the fall so I'll be eating beans until next summer I think.

Your garden is very pretty!

I LOVE glads! They were my Mom's favorite flower and she had a whole bed of them in the backyard in MD. There was a ubiquitous glass vase full of multicolored glads on the table in the front hall all summer--one of my enduring childhood memories! Keep planting them! I hear they do well in the clay soil here in OR, so once we get some beds dug in, I'll be planting them as well!

Love the idea about planting glads in with your veggies! May I suggest Rattlesnake pole beans? Long and green with purple streaks. I got just a few seeds from our library's heirloom seed bank and they are doing great! Another way to extend your bean season, plus no bending over.

A very nice gardening post. Glads don't do well in a hot, high altitude desert; they never come up in our granite/alkali dirt. I rely on pots of good, old zinnias for color.
Two bean varieties I love are Jade II (an improved hybrid) and Maxibel. They grow straight and long and hold their emerald color after they are blanched, cooled and frozen. They hate cold damp when they are sown so I wait until almost June to plant them. Fresh seed is a must and I invest in the ones sold from Territorial Seed. Jade comes in a week later than Maxibel.
Hot green beans for Thanksgiving with salt and butter only, no gooey casserole, thank you.
It's amazing what can be grown in containers around here. Maybe Ill try a couple of Glads after all.

We plant almost the same bean mix with Slendrette in place of Blue Lake. Cook them the same way too. Sure good!

I love glads, too! A friend walked through my front door with armloads of them when celebrating an OSU graduation. Glad, indeed!! And sending condolences on the passing of dear Chet Baker. I will miss all his photo-bombs.

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