I Don’t Know Beans About Growing Beans, But I’m Learning

For the past two years I have planted bean seeds and been sorely disappointed.  The first year none of the seeds sprouted and last year the few plants that did sprout, quickly fizzled and stalled, never producing more than a few leaves.

This year during the planning stages of the gardens, I did a lot of research as to why certain plants flourished in my gardens while others did not.  It became apparent that “winging it” in the garden is not an option.  Too many plants cannot produce or thrive when paired up with others.  In my reading, I learned that beans especially are quite sensitive and that where I had planted them in the past, they were doomed to fail. The plants I had to stay away from were garlic, onions, and sunflowers.  Peppers were also mentioned as a foe to beans, but the information I found was not consistent.  Some sites said to avoid planting them together, while others said they could be planted together.

As the gardens began to take form, beans were plotted for an entire section in the back garden, but seeing as nothing ever works out as written on paper, it ended up on the side of the house.  Not only was this area far enough away from any contradictory plants, but it was next to the A-frame so now all the climbing vegetables would be together. There are some peppers along an adjacent garden, but my hope is that since they are not sharing the same soil and there is a section of grass between them, if peppers are a hindrance for beans, they will not be affected.

I planted two rows of pole beans and three rows of bush beans.  After nine long days, I finally was rewarded with a sprout — a single sprout, but at least it was a sprout.

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By day fifteen however, nearly all the seeds had sprouted and they seem to be on their way.

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I’m not sure if these plants will make it long enough to produce any beans, but I am certainly going to keep my fingers crossed.  This morning I woke to frost, which had not been predicted.  I got out before 6 a.m. and hosed every plant in all the gardens down, but we’ll see what happens.  It is possible that beans are just not meant to be for my gardens, but for the time being I’m going to keep on trying, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Morning Frost

Good Morning Frost!

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Another glorious Michigan morning.  The sun is shining, the garden fared through the night, the birds are singing — it doesn’t get much better than that, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Preparing For Frost

Gotta love Michigan weather!  So, it’s the middle of May and yes, frost is predicted for tonight.  So much for the Farmer’s Almanac which predicted the last frost for my part of Michigan to be May 8th.  Now I get to do my best to cover all the plants I’ve dared plant in the gardens so they don’t shrivel up and die.

The pepper plants in front of the patio and on the side of the house are all covered:

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The pepper plants on the side of the house aren’t doing so hot as it is, so even the slightest frost would probably do them in.

As for the tomatoes, well they seem to be taking pretty well to their new home on the west side of the house and are thriving in all the wonderful afternoon sun they’ve been getting.  These are all going to be covered tonight. Thankfully I have just enough milk cartons to get the job done.

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The cucumbers, spinach and kale are covered with a sheet.  I hope this insulates them enough through the night.  I’ll be out first sun to make sure nothing moved during the night so I can water them down if frost sneaks under there.

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All of the corn popped up as well as the new pumpkin seeds I sowed directly in the soil, so these too are covered with a sheet.  They came up fairly quick so even if they do get hit by the frost and stall, I will most definitely replant.  I don’t want to have to do the work, but at least I’m early enough that I have the time if needed.

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As for the peas, they should be okay and be able to tolerate the frost, so they are on their own.

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I was torn when it came to the root garden.  Although the beets, turnips, radish, carrot, and parsnip all grow better in cooler temperatures, I’m not sure they would survive a hard frost.  I covered them too, just to be sure.  I’ve spent a lot of time sowing the seeds, weeding, and thinning these already this year and do not want all that effort going to waste.

The sheet was too short to cover one row of radish and the turnips.  I'll get out in the morning with water if need be for those.

The sheet was too short to cover one row of radish and the turnips. I’ll get out in the morning with water if need be for those.

I didn’t cover the garlic or the bean gardens, as neither of these have sprouted yet.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the seeds are deep enough not to notice the frost.

Garlic

Garlic

Bean Garden

Bean Garden

Although covering all the plants I’ve dared to plant outside already this spring is a bit time-consuming, I am very happy that so much of the garden is already in the ground.  With two more areas left to plant, the greenhouse is looking empty except for the canning peppers that I don’t dare plant in the garden until the end of the month and a few extra seedlings just in case what’s been planted in the ground doesn’t make it.

Michigan weather is a tricky one, but I’m prepared for it, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

First Frost

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Woke this morning to the first frost for eastern Michigan.

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A simple reminder that winter is coming.

Fall never lingers here in Michigan.  One day there are trees full of wonderfully colorful leaves, the next they’re bare and snow is in the air.

Today was a wakeup to enjoy the fall weather as much as I can for as long as it lasts, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.