Friday, November 12, 2010

Cleaning Up

Last week should have been fall clean up week. We had a frost. I should have taken down the tomatoes and beans, but I didn't. So yesterday I got myself off my derriere and finally got out and cleaned up the dead beans and zucchini plant.

Now I don't have to look at dead bean plants. Usually I crop the photos so you don't see the neighborhood, but I know some people are shocked when I say I live on a tiny bit of land now. This photo gives you an idea of the neighborhood. There are lots of two family condos in the neighborhood all crammed together. The rock wall garden usually has a car or two parked in front of it. Next year I think I'll put asparagus in here. I love the ferny foliage. So I'm going to call it an ornamental.

When I was cleaning up I ended up with a whole lot of shelling beans. Sadly the scarlet runner beans didn't set until very late in the year. I was worried that I wouldn't get any dried beans from it as seed, but I got a few pods. Enough to seed another year, but no more. I think it was just too hot for them early on. They didn't set until it had cooled down.

In other beany news, I figured my dried beans picked earlier would be dry enough at this point to freeze. Beans tend to have weevil eggs in them, but freezing kills them. So every fall is the great bean freeze. Not to be confused with last weeks bean freeze that killed all my plants. Anyway the hammer is there because beans will die if they are frozen and not dried enough. This wouldn't matter if I were just eating them, but I want some to be seed. They are dry enough when they shatter when hit by a hammer. Now I have bits of bean all over my kitchen. Last year I was smart enough to do this outside.

I'm wondering if I should use the seed saved this year. I swear the runner beans and the cranberry beans crossed. They all look like themselves, but some of the cranberry beans are growing way too big. I swear they are trying to get to runner bean size. If you didn't know runner beans are HUGE. Mine are usually an inch and a half long. But runner beans and cranberry beans are not the same species. So I would think crossing would be uncommon.

Today my chore is to take down the old tomato and pepper plants. It is supposed to be sunny and 60F today so it ought to be a pleasant chore.


  1. I'm not sure what weevil eggs are but they sound gross. The beans look cool.

  2. Excellent info about shattering the beans with a hammer and freezing the beans to kill the weevils. I was thinking about saving some of my bean seeds, but they are hybrids, so that should rule out saving seeds from them. Next year, I'm really going to plan ahead for seed saving with what I plant.

    Boy, that frost really got the tomatoes!

    Even at this time of year, your garden looks very good in my opinion. One is able to tell by the pics that it was planned and cared for by someone dedicated to doing a good job.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Veggie PAK

  3. Hi Daphne, my runner beans crossed with rattlesnake beans this year. The pods were runner bean shaped, but had purple stripes like the rattlesnake beans. The beans of the cross were different mid-way between the two. I'm planning to do a post about this soon.

  4. Nice bean harvest! I'm sure you are an inspiration to your neighbors. I hope others start doing as you do.


  5. It was a great day to clean up. Last weekend was too windy anyway. The beans are gorgeous. I've had weevils in my pea seeds before, they're pretty yucky.

  6. meemsnyc, they are eggs of a nasty insect. If they hatch they will eat all the beans.

    Veggie Pak, hybrid beans? I didn't think anyone ever sold hybrids of beans. They are such a pain to cross and only give a small amount of seed. Thanks, right now my garden looks a bit lonely. A few hardy plants here and there, but all my height is gone.

    Jackie, I had some pods like that. The Cranberry beans have striped pods but some of the runner beans had them too. Most didn't. Most are just plain green.

    Mary, Some of my neighbors are pretty good gardeners. I peek through a little opening in the fence along my road and someone has their whole backyard in veggies. They do a lot of potatoes and dried beans. And a whole host of other plants.

    The Mom, I'm very glad I was too lazy to go out last week as the last couple of days were so nice.

  7. Daphne, after your reply about the beans, I had to investigate so I would understand. In Johnny's Seed catalog, Fortex is not listed as an heirloom, but, neither is it listed as a hybrid. So, I did some searching and found one "standard" that to be an heirloom, a plant must have been in use for around 50 years. Then, I found out that Fortex is relatively new, but since it is an open-pollinated type, I CAN save the seeds. Whew! Thanks for provoking a lesson in gardenology! The main thing I knew about Fortex was that it tastes great, bears heavily, and has been absolutely stringless in my experience.

    Veggie PAK

  8. I was just thinking I should do the hammer test on my dried beans that are drying down in the shop with a fan on them. I think they are close to being ready for a freeze and then storage. Why is it I have all the energy in the world for the spring garden tidy up but have to make myself get out and do the fall clean up chores?! I still have some pole bean vines on the support structures to pull down yet.

  9. As you have grown all of these things at your home and hence you must clean up all the things and grown them in clean place.