Beans, tomatoes, beets & brussels

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
We've eaten a lot of beans from the garden over the last month. Wax beans, green beans, purple beans -- we've had them by the colander full.

My favorite way to eat fresh beans is in salads with a simple vinaigrette. Quick, easy, no fuss summer food.

After several rounds of picking though -- and yet another colander full -- I was getting tired of beans. I'm absolutely hankering to move on to...

'Green Zebra' tomatoes

It's been a long wait for the tomatoes we started from seed back in February. This past weekend we had our first couple of ripe 'Green Zebras.' I love their beautiful green contrast when paired up with regular red tomatoes in a salad.

We are about a day away from slicing into the season's first 'Cherokee Purple.' Those were our favorite among the heirloom tomatoes we grew last year.

Elsewhere in the garden, one of my favorite scenes is this one: A riotous mess of greens (and reds!) in all manner of textures.

In here is curly endive (so bitter that we never eat any of it), and bolting red lettuce and 'Red Russian' kale. The spiky plants are my globe artichokes, which I'm really excited about. No sign of any chokes emerging yet, but the plants are absolutely gorgeous.

Whether they get any artichokes or not, I'd consider keeping these plants in my landscape just for their pretty and unusual foliage.

Here's one of my pickings of beets. These were from a 'Gourmet Blend' of seeds that included 'Golden,' 'Chioggia,' and 'Bull's Blood' red. No matter how many beets I get, I never seem to have enough to suit my liking for them. I perpetually have on my garden to-do list: plant more beets.

I've started sowing seeds for fall crops. Yes, beets are in, and so is kale, kohlrabi, carrots, and cauliflower. I have five brussels sprouts plants growing. Last year I failed miserably with brussels, having planted them too late in the season. This time around I planted seedlings right after we dug out our garlic at the end of June. So far the plants look healthy and content, and I can see an add-on of growth with each passing day. Promising!

Brussels sprouts


Blogger Jo said...

I should be harvesting my first beans very soon, and my tomatoes are growing nicely, but a way away from being red. I did harvest some beetroot at the weekend though.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Christa, I'm dying to know how you succeded with Green Zebra. Our plants last year just wilted miserably before bearing any usable fruit. I gave up on them. Glad you concur on the Cherokee Purple. They are definitely our favorites. And Brussels sprouts already? I guess I need to get cracking....

6:10 PM  
Blogger miniAnn said...

Can you suggest a resource or book that explains what can be planted when? I never seem to have the time to plant things in the spring, so I thought I'd like to try a late summer/fall garden. Thanks!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Siren said...

i think i'll plant the same tomatoes as you next year (adding the Green Zebra and Cherokee Purple . . . those sound so delicious).

One question, though - how many bean plants did you plant? I have about twelve but it has only really given me about a handful here and there. I wanted a bounty like you have had.

I thought i was planting low-bush beans but they ended up being tall plants, ,too.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Brave New Gardeners said...

We're growing that handsome Cherokee Purple this year. We managed to snag a seedling at the farmer's market in the spring, and it's been such a vigorous plant this summer. It's a stunner. We've picked about three so far this season. Love it!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

For the Green Zebras (and all our tomatoes), I mixed some bone meal into the soil at planting time and added a root simulating liquid fertilizer. I also fed with fish emulsion early in the season, and now I water the plants regularly throughout the summer. We have gobs of tomatoes; they have just been slow to ripen. (Or I am getting impatient!)

The Weekend Gardener Grow Guide is a good basic reference tool to help you determine when to plant. I also use various books, such as "Square Foot Gardening," for guidance on how many days to count back from the frost date. And I learn a lot from trial and error from year to year!

I'm guessing I had about 24 bush bean plants in the first round of sowing, and maybe about 12 plants in a second round I sowed several weeks later. When the first round was dying back, the second round was just getting started, so I had beans non-stop for several weeks.

Thanks, all, for your visits and your questions!

2:33 PM  
Blogger O.I.M said...

your green zebras look great. mine are struggling. too bad. on the bright side the beans are coming on fast. and thanks for the reminder about getting in some late season crops. i'd better get moving.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Matron said...

Yes, my beans have just started as well. That is a lovely way to eat them. I might make a nicoise salad with cold potatoes, black olives and anchovies.

4:47 AM  
Blogger gumboot goddess said...

I like your beet mix! We picked our first beets the other day, too ` yum!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Wow! I use to have a vegetable garden years ago but since I had children I don't seem to have the time. Your vegetables look absolutely delightful. Keep up the great work.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

Wow - great harvest! I just picked my first bean of the year and ate it in the garden. There are many that are getting ready, though. Carefully watching the first tomato, too. ~ Paula

12:00 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Hi there - I've just found your site via a lazy afternoon's wander on the internet and wow I'm so glad I did! You are achieving everything that we are just setting out on the road to achieve - organic home grown goodness - well done - I'll be back often!

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Rachael said...

So many choices so many delicious bites. Looks great. Can't wait to hear about the tasty wonders of everything else!

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Owyn from Medifast Coupons said...

I had the same problem with my beans. We put in so many and never thought of how we were even going to use them. Thankfully there is a big family event coming up so we'll be able to get them all used up!

12:16 PM  
Blogger Sparkly said...

We too love beetroots. The golden ones are delicious.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I love the 2nd image :)

I love to eat beans with meat or chicken on it, and I put some garlic for the best taste :)

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Heather said...

We're growing that handsome Cherokee Purple this year. We managed to snag a seedling at the farmer's market in the spring, and it's been such a vigorous plant this summer.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

Beans r my favorite,I love to eat beans with meat or chicken on it, and I put some garlic for the best taste.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Becky said...

I hated brussel sprouts before I tried these... they are soooo yummy, hot or cold!! Thank you!!

4:45 PM  

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