Gardening Update: Black Bean & Sunflower Harvest

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We ended up getting back from our vacation a day early so this morning I decided to check on the garden’s progress. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous – after all, we’d been gone during peak growing season and I knew there’d been some big rains just prior to us getting  back. Not good when you’re trying to grow things like dried beans and sunflowers!

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The first thing I noticed was that the kiwi vines have successfully made their way to the top of my arbor! I can tell these things are going to start to take over the world, so I spent a little time cleaning them up. While it could take up to a few years for them to fruit, I’m hoping for much sooner than that.

DSCN0875 (800x600)The next thing I noticed were the “fall spiders” as I like to call them. In the spring and summer, I’ll find cute lil’ spiders in the garden, but as fall approaches, they get… creepier.

DSCN0876 (800x600)My edamame pods are starting to fatten, but they are definitely on the small side. I had stupidly planted my daughter’s cosmos flower in the middle of the edamame bed, not realizing how huge it would get! I had to take pruning shears to take it out as it was making a mess of the beans.

DSCN0883 (503x800)I did cut a bunch for my daughter to take inside and put in a mason jar vase. So she was happy in the end and so was I! Lesson learned about cosmos!

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Speaking of beans, I decided today was the day to pull up my black bean plants. This was my second year growing dried beans, and my first with black beans. It’s really quite simple – the plants grow easily and then you just stop watering them at the end. The pods will turn yellow and papery and when you hear the beans “rattle” inside, you’ll know they’re done! If you suspect rain is coming, you can uplift the plants and finish drying the pods indoors.

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I probably could have devoted more space to growing black beans. My ½ of a raised bed yielded me the above bowl of pods which resulted in just under a pint’s worth of beans.

DSCN0902 (600x800)These are definitely fun to shell and my kids love helping out! As I mentioned in my post last week, I love harvesting foods that basically preserve themselves. You don’t have to dehydrate, freeze, or can these – just pop them out of their pods and put them in a glass jar and keep in a dry, dark place.

DSCN0886 (800x600)Another plant I wanted to harvest quickly was my sunflowers. The heads were getting extremely heavy and drooping. I was afraid they were going to topple completely! I also wanted to remove them before the birds or rain got to them.

DSCN0892 (800x600)My daughter and I removed the little pieces from the tops of the seeds. (Sorry I don’t have the technical name – can you tell I’m a novice sunflower grower?)

DSCN0893 (800x506)This is what my sunflowers looked like when we completed that process. I only grew five this year, but each one is just loaded with seeds! I need to figure out what to do next, but in the meantime, I took the flower heads into the garage to dry. (If you have tips for what to do – please let me know.)

DSCN0900 (800x600)Speaking of curing stuff in the garage, here’s how my onions are shaping up. They’re probably good to go, but I’m going to give them another week or so just as added insurance. From there, I’ll clip off the tops, gently shake off any dirt, and store them in a bin in my garage. I did this last year and my onions lasted months.

DSCN0895 (470x800)Here’s what I ended up harvesting today: a giant cucumber, a bunch of smallish tomatoes, a few bell peppers, the beans, and sunflowers. My kitchen counter also has the pumpkins I harvested before our trip, so it looks like fall in here!

My goal is to garden through the fall. I’ve threatened to do this a couple years in a row, but this is the year I’m actually going to do it! I’ve currently got rutabagas, kale, spinach, and Brussels sprouts growing. Here’s hoping I can manage in spite of the creepy fall spiders!

What’s growing in your garden? What are you harvesting?


Comments

  1. says

    Last year I hung my sunflowers up and wrapped a paper bag around them. That way, any loose seeds that popped out as they dried weren’t lost. Once they’re dry the seeds should just fall right out with a light brushing with your fingers!
    I can’t tell very well but yours still look a bit green so it may be a while…? Good luck! :D

    • Angela Russell says

      Yes, they don’t want to come out easily just yet – so I think I’ll give them a bit more time to dry. Thanks for the tip!!

  2. Jana says

    My daughter’s sunflower is a bit on the smallish side but I see all the seeds in there but they’re white. Yours are black. ?????

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