Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seed For Security Update: Jacob's Cattle Beans and French Horticulture Beans

Purple carrots comparing size to a dime coin.
If you read my previous post about how excited I got planting purple carrots, you'll also know that they failed miserably. I can't remember where, for sure, I got them but it was NOT inside the United States. Needless to say, out of two 3'x3' raised garden boxes, I've grown maybe six carrots. The tops were deceptively large, or so I thought (as a novice gardener) so I picked a few. They were miserably small and scrawny. Smaller in diameter than a pencil and less than half the length. That was over a month ago.

I picked two more just the other day. You can see by the picture that they are still pathetic. I only have two left growing and they're staying in the soil until they say FEED ME SEYMOUR! Maybe I'm just being too impatient. I want this stuff to be ready to eat in under four months. Is that SO unreasonable?

French Horticulture Beans with cat-proof bird net
Which brings me to what replaced the purple carrots: Jacob's Cattle Beans and French Horticulture Beans. The Cattle Beans were a vivid spotted color almost like little cows. One 3'x3' raised bed garden was filled with Cattle Beans and the other bed filled with the French Beans. Considering they were planted in early May, I think they are growing REALLY well.

The Cattle Beans box is situated right next to a metal shed and I was warned by some seasoned gardeners in the neighborhood that the radiant heat coming off of the shed would burn two or more rows of seed closest to the shed. They recommended I grow some Armenian cucumbers on a trellis to absorb some of the heat. I didn't heed the warning quick enough and am losing some of the crop. I placed a blue tarp on the plant side of the shed today until I can build a trellis and find some Armenians.

Jacob's Cattle Beans (crop thinned by radiant heat
from nearby metal shed.)
I'm not sure when to harvest these yet so I'll have to do some research. SFS website has a lot of good information and tons of pictures. The bird netting has proved worthy as I haven't seen a hint of cat scratching or poop since I installed them. The kids actually stopped using it as a sandbox too. HOORAY!

When all is said and done, I'm happy with the results in our garden so far. This is an experiment to us and only our second season to grow food.  We see the coming hyperinflation and have begun our journey towards a greater self sufficiency. The more of our own food we can grow, the better off we'll be as the global turmoil continues. Now if only my HOA would allow a milk producing animal...


  1. Beans.. for dried you wait until they are fully mature and dry. You can pick them when the pod is just starting to turn leathery and finish drying them inside (happens often when rain and cool temps mess with things). Most of the "dried" types you can pick immature as well for green beans/ string beans.

    Check for tiny holes in the beans. Once the beans are properly dried.. putting them in the freezer for a few weeks will knock off bean weevils.

    Yay beans!

  2. granted.. it's peas... but I can't find the pics of my dried beans. Basically very similar looking if you wanted to get a rough idea.


  3. I planted a variety of orange carrot called "little fingers" which were supposed to be rapid mature-ers. But the first ones I planted have been in the ground since April and are not ready yet. I think you can treat carrots the same as radishes; don't pull them until you can see the top of the carrot poking out of the ground. But I've dug with my finger around a couple of the plants and there doesn't seem to be much there yet.


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