Happy to be “have beans” (or almost)

If you want to hook kids on gardening, let them plant beans. They’re one of the best veggies for the impatient gardener. A week away, and our late-sown crop has sprouted its first set of true leaves. They quickly turn a bare garden into something that looks like it’s really happening. What fun. Now we’ll reset our Patiencemeter to wait for the fruit.

Radishes are another ideal starter seed for kids or the chronically impatient. Ours are working on Leaf Pair II or III, marking the rows of tiny beet seedlings (with the nascent red veins above) and the grassy primary leaves of the carrots. We’ll pull the radishes up as they ripen, leaving room for the other root veggies to… we hope… develop.

You can see how we’re faring, compared to those who had a May/ June start (not towards the end of July, as we did). Bare? Our little 0.0018 acre looks so naked it’s blushing.

In the plot to our left, the corn is if not quite as high as an elephant’s eye then elephant’s-eyeish. Further up our row is a glowing netful of scarlet runner beans, one of my faves both for flower and fruit. We’ve optimistically put some in, too, and will see what our optimism gets (or nets) us.

Not much has gone on with the tomato plants, unless you count these microscopic suckers, the tiny branchlets that develop in the crooks where the large leaves meet the stem. These I unceremoniously nipped off to discourage bushy growth. If these plants ever set fruit, I want the sun to be able to reach and ripen it, and that’s best done when the plants grow upward, not outward, at least in a space as small as ours with no room for them to sprawl.

Sarah’s plots, by contrast, are very well dressed, with lots of ripening tomatoes, plus sunny yellow zucchini, herbs and a bouquet of marigolds and other pollinator attractants. But I’ll let her tell her own story.


  1. Hi Helen, let us think good thoughts for your late season crops. I agree about beans, nearly instant gratification and so good to eat too. I keep planting more batches of these since they are the best performers this year. No more squash, takes too much room and the bugs get it everytime. That's why we have farmer's markets. Scarlet runners for the first time here, love the pink/red beans inside.

  2. Helen,
    I let my girls plant our beans this year. It was a cool summer and the beans were slow to get started but once they did, my girls were very excited and had a hard time thinning them, since they cherished each and every plant! I love your blog, it is so informative and fun to read. I will be back to see what gardening adventures you are up to!

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