Of Beans Growing

Gardening keeps you humble.

Here you are: pretty proud of yourself, because you’ve been gardening for over twenty years – you’ve even had some pretty good years and raised some unusual plants; you’ve dabbled in all kinds of things; have propagated a lot of your own plants and saved seeds; you are even teaching people how to start or improve their kitchen garden; AND people call you or e-mail you for advice.

The ancient Greeks knew it: Hubris will cause your downfall. Ok, so Nemesis won’t come for me – or so I hope! – but I certainly got what was due to me. A reminder that cockiness has no place in the garden. I got humbled by the humble green bean.

Early in June I planted bush beans, some yellow, some greens and some purple: soaked the beans overnight, made a furrow, sprinkled inoculant as per the box directions, watered, marked the rows with labels. And waited. Watered. And waited more. And then some more. Three weeks later, I had four plants. Mmm…. What’s going on? Any school kid can grow beans – easiest thing on earth… The seeds were fresh, so that was not the problem; I could not accuse cutworms nor slugs – as there were no signs of the plants having been cut down, or chewed down, no slimy shiny trail… More hypotheses were formulated and discussed at the diner table. Maybe I planted them a little too deep and they were taking their time? Scratching down the row – no, make that digging down the row, only revealed one more plant in the process of germination. So I planted a second crop in the same place – much shallower this time (as my husband who had patiently listed to my soliloquies gently suggested), and sure enough 5 days later they were up and perky!

Don’t plant your beans too deep. And then don’t wait too long to replant. And don’t take gardening for granted and don’t get complacent.

And be grateful to your neighbor who kindly offers you several pounds of green beans because her plants are doing so well and she won”t have time to freeze nor can them as she is going away for a few days. You can still eat freshly picked green beans – just not yours. Yet.

(But the pepper plants look absolutely wonderful! lalala!)

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