gabriola garden

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pastel Colors and Fragrance of Phlox, First Bean Harvest
I made some fried eggs with homegrown garlic for Sara this morning, and she reciprocated with three green banana peppers and two red tomatoes, the first of many from my vegetable garden.

Why is Sara harvesting my vegetables, you ask? Well, I had to go to the eye doctor this week and he put some darn drops into both of my eyes and it thoroughly blurred my vision.

So it’s up to Sara this week to spot the odd ripe vegetable. She also harvested a stainless steel bowl full of two kinds of beans from our famous bean house.

We grow Scarlet Runner Beans, as we did last year, as well as Pole Beans, which are smoother and more suitable for stir-fries. Pole beans boast long pods, distinct flavor, high yield, and a multiple harvest.

Pole beans are usually harvested 5 times in a season, so Sara’s pickings constituted our first harvest. From seedling to harvest, pole beans require 60 to 70 days.

Adequate watering is required throughout its veg and bloom stages. Long spells of hot dry weather result in misshapen pods and a poor yield. The timing of the harvest is important. Left on the vine too long, the bean pods get tough and woody.

Bean beetles, root rot, rust, fruit worms, and red spiders are the pests that can destroy your Pole Bean crop. Peanut Stunt Virus is sometimes a serious problem. It is vectored by aphids and very hard to control.

The variety I planted, Kentucky Blue, grows six to seven inch, straight, round pods, and is resistant to rust. I planted the seeds two to four inches apart and one inch deep. The bamboo structure that we build every year for the Scarlet Runners became its trellis.

We fertilize our beans, as we do all our other plants, with Advanced Nutrients Iguana Juice Grow for veg, and Iguana Juice Bloom for flowering. We also use Organic B, a B-complex vitamin supplement, to reduce plant stress.

The beans responded immediately to the three beneficials (Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice) by starting speedy root formation during the first few weeks of veg.

One of our cats dug up a bean plant during the third week and Sara and I were pleasantly surprised at the massive size of the root ball. We gently replanted it and treated it with No Shock, in order to minimize the trauma.

As opposed to last year, the bumblebees were out in full force this time around, doing their little dance and spreading the pollen. The Scarlet Runner beans had their distinctive red flowers all over the bamboo structure, while the Pole Beans offered smaller, white flowers to the eager bees.

Nearby, a huge Sunflower looked on and a Purple Passion Rose once again proved that the Rose is the most graceful flower of them all. Every time I passed the Blue Girl bush, I took a whiff of the sweet perfume contained in the lavender-pink blooms.

Even the Stainless Steel Rose opened a few blooms this past week, ending its rain-enforced period of dormancy. The Double Purple Cone Flower looked majestically on, nodding slightly in the summer breeze.

Sara bought several pastel shades of Phlox, light purple pink, a darker blue, and some violet ones, as well. A few Oriental Lilies opened next to the Phlox, providing interesting contrast.

The Russian Sage became so prolific that Sara was thinking of dividing it, and the Catmint also filled a whole corner of one of the flowerbeds, hiding a Rose and a few smaller flowers in its abundance.

Sunday morning I’ll spray once again with Scorpion Juice and I continue to mix in Barricade the night before into the nutrient solution to make sure it dissolves. These two Advanced Nutrients products make sure that all our plants are able to ward of pests and diseases much better than without being treated with them.

Sara is talking about trimming the overhanging branches of the Japanese Styrax tree, since they shade one of her flowerbeds too much. She loves that tree, so this is a hard decision. One usually prunes trees in the Fall, after they’ve lost their leaves and have entered dormancy.

I don’t want to talk about the arrival of fall yet, even though Hedgehog is selecting books to read for her home schooling projects, while Jim is looking forward to being enrolled in grade 4. He decided that he would like to try real school for a while.

posted by Tim at 8:36 PM


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