Wednesday, May 20, 2009

International String Bean Day

There is probably a real day named like this somewhere out in the real world, but I am using it today because its the first day I was able to get two whole servings of real summer green beans to the table.
They almost didn't make it to the table. Late spring frost, bugs, gardenside munching all took their toll.
I learned something new this week. Last fall, as soon as I signed up for the local challenge, I started processing and freezing more summer produce. I also started planning my plantings better to ensure a more steady harvest. As it turned out, one very late bean crop did well, and two subsequent pea plantings also turned out to be both productive and uncharacteristically disease-free. I planted many fava plants in the winter, and started a delicate bush bean variety underneath a makeshift cold-frame in early spring. Proper mulching ensured the early return of six pole bean plants. The result? I still have three frozen ziplock bags of beans in storage. I have more fava beans than I care to shell and peel. There are beans served at practically every meal.
I still have one plug of tomato salsa and half a bag of summer squash, but only because I am making an effort to cook them into gobs of soup before all the new crops come in. I figure I'll have my first crowd of tomatoes by mid-June and the first summer squash by next week.
And the beans will keep coming. I have dry beans, heat-loving beans, cool-loving beans, bush beans, climbing beans, tropical beans, and desert beans. And, I learned that planning for food is easier than putting it by.

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