Monday, June 29, 2015

Cosse Violetta Pole Beans

Cosse Violetta are beautiful beans, deeply purple on the outside, green inside. My current favorite bean, they are sweet and tender in addition to being pretty. And the flowers, well let's just say they are lovely.

Hanging in clusters, the pods grow to 10 inches long and are a striking contrast to their green foliage.
These vines are vigorous and have spilled over the top of my 8 ft tee pee. 
My dog loves Cosse Violetta beans! Here she is waiting for me to put down the camera and pick her a little snack.
When they are young, the beans are green then gradually turn purple. I love their stripes as they mature.
One interesting thing is, they tend to turn green when cooked. Oh, are they delicious!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bessie May Loves Carrots, and So Do We

Who can resist that look? My sweet Bessie May loves carrots...and strawberries, green beans, apricots, etc. There's nothing unusual about that. The amazing thing is, she knows them by name, and she knows where they are growing in the garden. Someday I'll take a video as proof, but let me just say that if the back door is open, and I say that we should go get some carrots, my dog will bolt out to the garden and wait by the correct gate.  

Here she is waiting for me to catch up. I told her we needed to get some green beans. 
It took me a couple of minutes to grab my camera after I said that. She waited there for me. 

She rarely goes into the garden until she is invited. I didn't teach her to wait, she is just intuitive.

She also rarely sneaks things or nibbles on things when I'm around. Now when I'm gone, that's another story. Apricots are seldom found on our lower branches. Anything that is not fenced in is fair game in her mind. 

Who can blame her? All she gets is kibble, when we can have this...
Fresh carrot juice!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Annie's Rainbow Beans

They are beautiful, aren't they? Oh, but you should taste them sauteed with ham!! These are Annie's Rainbow beans, a combination of Contender, Golden Wax, Royal Burgundy, and Dragon's Tongue. I bought all of my seeds from Annie's Heirloom Seeds. (They don't know of this blog, I have no affiliation with them other than I purchase my seeds from them.) One of the things I like about their website is there are collections such as these beans and that makes it easier to experiment with different varieties. In the collections the individual varieties of seeds are packaged separately so they aren't all mixed together leaving you guessing. (At least that it true with the tomatoes, the beans may have come in one package. You can tell the beans apart, the varieties look different.) 

These beans are my current favorite thing in the garden, and they were a surprise. I thought I was planting a mix of pole beans and I put them at the base of one of my tee pees. It turns out they are bush beans and the mistake was mine. I didn't read the package well. So these are the pole beans that aren't. The flowers are sure pretty.

I can eat the beans uncooked right out in the garden, crisp and flavorful, but here's one of our favorite quick meals...

Add a little butter into a saute pan, add the beans and stir fry them for a few minutes, then add small pieces of ham and heat until the ham is slightly brown. Prepared this way, the beans are lightly cooked and still a bit crunchy, just the way I like them. YUM!

Sometimes the best things are unintentional. We are loving these bush beans so much that I am planting more every three weeks so we can have a continual supply throughout the summer! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Using Twine Instead of Wire on the Trellises

Trial and error had resulted in a discovery I thought I would share with you. When I made my tomato trellises, I used 20 gauge wire hung vertically for the tomatoes to climb. I was thinking wire would be stronger than twine. 
It is stronger but it is also less forgiving than twine. I've noticed areas where the wire is cutting into the vines. 

I started with one plant and removed the wire and replaced it with twine to see how it would work. Giving the twine a little extra slack allowed the vines to be gently twisted around it. The twine moves with the plant and easily conforms to the shape of the vine. On the other hand, the wire digs into the plant in some areas causing damage, so twine works better.

I made this realization after making wire trellises for all 12 of my tomatoes. It was a time-consuming process to switch the wire out and install twine supports instead, but the job is done! 
Each twisting tomato stem has one string to climb, and they are spaced about 8 inches apart along the top. I have been really consistent about pruning out all of the suckers, so there is good air circulation. 
Next time I will use twine from the start. 

You live, you learn. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Romanesco Zucchini

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. This year I took a gamble on a new variety of zucchini and this one's a winner. Tender and thin-skinned with raised longitudinal ridges, Romanesco is one beautiful and tasty zucchini. When cut in cross sections, this zucchini produces interesting gear-shaped slices.
No need to peel it: the skin is so thin and tender, it is unnoticed when you take a bite. 
The texture is light and crisp, making it delicious raw, but it's even better lightly cooked. For lunch, I quickly sauteed some of the zucchini with Golden Wax beans in butter with garlic, then sprinkled fresh chopped tarragon over it. Delicious.  
The plants are huge, so it is a big commitment you are making when you plant a zucchini.
Because my garden is small, we only grow one zucchini plant per year, so trying a new variety was a bit of a gamble. I have to say, this is my favorite variety I've ever tried. Just be sure to harvest them when they are small because if you leave them on the plant, this will happen.
My husband loves to cook, and even this big zucchini does not phase him. He told me he intends to slice it, bread it and fry it. That's the only hint I have about his plans...cannot wait!
This one weighs just over 11 pounds.
Our single plant has been producing a nice foot-long zucchini every 3-4 days or so.
I count 6 young zucchini.
The flowers are outrageous. No wonder bees love them. That yellow is intense and they are huge.
Maybe we will fry some of the blossoms too. They'll make a delicious treat. 

Romanesco, you have won me over!