Thursday, May 5, 2011

Potato Planting and a Bean Preview

Yesterday I wanted to get out into the garden and plant my potatoes before the storm came in. So I went out not long after I got up. I've tried other ways to plant potatoes, but never Jeavon's way. Laura introduced this to me and I figured I'd try it.

I don't know what Jeavon's says about chitting potatoes or letting cut potatoes scab over. I do know that research says chitted potatoes have a better chance if you plant early. Cold wet soil can rot a potato out if it isn't already growing. The same is true for letting the potato scab over for 2-3 days. For me I don't think it mattered either way since they are getting planted fairly late and the soil is pretty warm and dry. I still chitted them. I didn't have to chit them for long since they were already started when I bought them. Then a couple days ago I cut them into pieces. I needed exactly 50 pieces for a 4'x8' bed. I had 10 Russets, 20 Kennebec, and 20 Yukon Gold.

Yesterday they were planted in the Jeavon's method. As you double dig the bed plant the potatoes 9" down and 9" from each other. My garden doesn't really need to be double dug at this point. The soil was put in last fall and I have 18" of good soil all the way down. But I followed the procedure and made a trench and then loosened the "subsoil". Then put in the seed potato.

I ended up with an extra Russet after planting. Whoops. I had the count perfect when I cut them, so somewhere in the Russet section is a missing spud. Well no matter. The other potatoes will just have to full in.

I finished at 8:15. It wasn't all the much work and wanted to get more done. After breakfast I went out and built another trellis along the back of the three sisters beds in bed 8. I've started numbering the beds. I have eight beds all alike. I think I should give them names though. A number is so impersonal. Anyway the three sisters beds are not normal three sisters since I've found they don't work here. The beans just overtake the corn and smother it. So what I'm doing this year is to plant pole beans long the back foot of the bed up trellises. In the front will be blocks of corn with squash roaming in from the ends and middle. I'm thinking the corn will be in blocks of 12 (3x4). I hope it is good enough for pollination.

Anyway I digress. There will be two 4'x16' foot beds for my three sisters. and one 4'x8' section for summer squash and beans. So I have about 40 feet of beans to plant up. Most of this will be in dried beans.

I have 19 varieties of beans to trial. Some are just little packets of five beans, so those will only get a foot of space as I plant pole beans on 6" centers.

Bed 8 (16' long):

  • Fortex green beans from Jane
  • Kentucky Wonder green beans
  • Green Yard long beans from Jane
  • Red Yardlong beans from Jane
  • Soisson Vert shelling beans from Jane
  • Turkey Craw Dried beans from Michelle
  • Mexican Pinto from SSE Yearbook
  • Ga Ga Hut Pinto from the SSE Yearbook
  • Painted Lady runner beans from Mike (for the trellis over the path)

Bed 5 (8' long):

  • Apache Red dried beans from SSE Y
  • Norridgewok dried bean from SSE Y
  • Tarbais Alaric shelling bean from SSE Y

Bed 2 (16' long and will be planted late since I have to wait for the spinach to come out) all dried beans:

  • Cherokee Trail of Tears originally from the Ottawa Gardener, but I've been saving it for a couple of years now
  • Aunt Jean's Pole, Rattlesnake from Mike
  • Lazy Housewife from Jane
  • Petaluma Gold Rush from Michelle
  • Borlotto Linguia di Fuoco from Jane
  • Ottawa Cranberry. The Ottawa Cranberry came first from the Ottawa Gardener then I grew it out and sent some to Granny. Then I ate all my seed stock except for the previous years. So Granny sent it back to me. So it is a well traveled bean. It started in Canada; came to the east coast of the USA; went to the west coast; then came back to the east coast.

Dang that is a lot of beans to trial. I hope I can keep them all straight. It won't be easy. But I'm hoping to have a selection of maybe six beans that I like after I'm done. But the reality is I will have 10 or more. I have to learn to pick an choose better but it is so hard to cut out the varieties.


  1. I too will be trying the Jeavon's potato planting method this year. It will be interesting to compare.

    You are certainly trialing a lot of beans. I can't wait to watch their progress.

  2. You certainly have been busy in your garden. Love the trellis. I enjoy reading your blog. However it make me very impatient waiting for the weather to change here so I can start gardening.

  3. My goodness...that's a lot of different beans! I can understand your weakness. There are so many varieties out there and they are so pretty!

    I just love your trellises! Your garden is going to look beautiful!

  4. I was a bit tired of reading the beans list! Lol! I wonder how much energy you have to keep going! Your beds are really going to put out a lot of harvest, this year. It will be fun to check out the "Harvest Mondays" :)

  5. I'm trying Kentucky Wonder this year. I thought it was named something else, but I peered closer at the packet and found that that was green bean in Spanish :-)

    What's with Ferry Morse? I usually buy seeds from places like Renee's, but I picked these up in Lowe's, and the Ferry Morse packets have stuff like ANNUAL and PERENNIAL in giant caps and you need a magnifying glass to read the variety name. Particularly fun for the packets 2 inches from the floor.

    I have the dim idea beans are supposed to be directly sown, but I don't have good luck with directly sowing much, so I started them inside and transplanted them when they were about six inches tall a few days ago. So far so good.

  6. I really like your trellises, Daphne! Where did you get the bamboo and generally, how much are they. Just wondering if it costs a lot to make them. I need to so the same for my beans.

  7. GrafixMuse, well I'll have nothing to compare it to. The soil at my old place was just to different for comparison.

    wilderness, after today we are getting a nice stretch of good weather. Not terribly warm, but not terribly cold either and partly sunny all day so good to get things started.

    Robin, it is a lot. I'm a bit worried about keeping them all straight. I hope I don't have problems.

    RandomGardener, lol yes I know how you feel. Well by the end of May everthing will be planted out. Then I can rest. I'll be glad for next year though when I don't have a whole landscape to put in during the spring season.

    Karen Anne, I always direct sow beans. I chit them for a couple days sometimes, but they just take too much room for me to start them in blocks. Most of the big seed only gets direct sown. For me the usually come up ok so I don't worry. It is the small seed I have trouble direct sowing sometimes.

    Thomas, I bought it online at
    It is 1.18 per 1"x8' pole (bought in bundles of 50). But then expect to double that price because of shipping. As a building material it is pretty cheap and light. Then you have to add in your twine which has to be rebought every year. At least if you take them apart like I do to store them.

  8. I used to grow pole beans and living in the country something for them to grow up was real easy. Would go out in the woods and cut a tall sapling about 1" in diameter. That was the trellis. Stick it in the garden and plant 5 seed around the sapling and you were done. They were usually good for 3-4 years at least.

  9. What an incredible garden. How many pounds do you think you'll have this year? I see you doubled your haul between 09 and 10. You seem to be headed for even greater rewards! "Three Sisters" reminds me of a set of mountain peaks in the Cascade range of Washington State. Very beautiful!

  10. wilderness, I've done that with bamboo too. Just stick a pole in the ground and up they come.

    Jody, I have no clue. My space is so much bigger than it has been. Last year was a fluke though. We had a really hot summer. Abnormally hot for us, so we got tons of tomatoes driving up the poundage. Who knows what this year will be like.

  11. I grew Kentucky Wonder pole beans last year. They were absolutely delicious - best bean I ever ate - and long. Then the Japanese beetles came in swarms, and they concentrated at the top. This year I stick to bush beans. That's an ambitious planting of dry beans. A lot of people put a lot of work into developing those different varieties and the modern food economy considers them irrelevant. Go figure.

  12. Gardenvariety-hoosier, I love their taste too. I'm growing Fortex yet one more time just to make sure Kentucky Wonder will be my bean of choice for all time. Ouch. I've never had really really bad Japanese beetles. Occasionally the chew the leaves, but I've never had swarms. And pole beans are all irrelevant to the modern industrial farm complex. Machines can't pick them so the only ones that get developed now are bush beans. Pole beans are great for the small home gardener though. They produce more in the space given and they keep producing over a longer season.

  13. Daphne, maybe you can help me. I'm growing beans for drying for the first time this year. I have some Dragon's Tongue and a Borlotto Dwarf I got in a trade. Do I basically plant them and let them dry on the vine or do I harvest and then dry? Any advice would be welcome. I'd hate to mess this up! Thanks!! I love all the good stuff going into your garden! It makes me want to rip out my grass and put in raised beds so I can plant MORE!! =0)

  14. Holly, yes you let the beans dry on the vine. Occasionally we have trouble if they mature late since our September can be pretty wet. Then they mold rather than drying. But most of the time I don't have any issues with it. Sometimes I have to pick the beans early. Any of the drying beans can be used as a shelling bean. They just don't take as long to cook and can taste a little different. Still good though. Most of my runner beans were picked before they could dry last year. They were very late. So I just cooked them up as a shelling beans. They were very delicious.

  15. Thanks for all the great info Daphne! I'll see what I can do with them here in Oregon. I'll just have to remember to save some seeds to replant! I have lots of the dragon's tongue but not a lot of the other. I'm not even sure what variety it is. I guess I'll be pleasantly surprised!