While I Was Picking Green Beans

While I was picking green beans this morning I was reminded why I’m so adamant about mulching them with straw or hay. Not only was the ground moist under them, but when the bushes fell over, which they always do when loaded with beans, the beans didn’t land in the mud, or get mud splashed on them when I watered. Insects don’t find them when their off the ground either so there’s less damage to them. Clean pickens. It’s your last chance to plant a row of bush beans. They mature in 58 days. Pole beans take much longer so wait until next spring. Fall spinach can be direct seeded now. I’ve read that freezing the seeds will improve the germination rate. I know that putting a board over the row will.

I went ahead and planted Brussels sprout seeds today so I can be disappointed in them twice this year. They mature in 90 days so they should be forming in October and get harvested in November. They are supposed to form tight heads when maturing in cooler temperatures so this is optimal planting time right? I continue to get the same loose leafed sprouts no matter what changes I make to their time of planting, position in the garden, afternoon shade as opposed to full sun, water and nutrient application. I still keep planting them though because eventually I’ll get it right. I think they are incredibly beautiful plants with an awkward, alien like presence. They stand 3′ tall and form a tree trunk like main stem that gets sprouts forming in the crotch of the leaves. They are turquoise colored with big veins in the leaves, and lean at various angles, producing a shade pastern that moves across the ground, accenting their dominance. I admire them even though they thwart me.

If you were to plant a row of carrots now you wouldn’t regret it come late October. Just when the garden’s winding down you’ll have bright orange sweet young tender carrots to remind you of all the sweet melons of the summer. I’ve planted Scarlet Nantes again because they are the sweetest carrots I’ve ever eaten. They are half the length of regular carrots so there’s no need to double dig your soil or amend it 12″ deep. They pull up easily without breaking the tops off. They do take 14-28 days to germinate, so putting a board over the row is advisable this time of year, unless you mist them every day. Beets are a go also. I’ve found that thinning my root crops keeps them uniform and makes prepping them and eating them more enjoyable.

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