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Fruiting Planting in Late Winter – Rattlesnake Beans

rattlesnake beans

For one very scary moment I thought we had eaten the last of the beans saved from last summer.  But whew.  Plenty in the jar for planting for this year. These are Rattlesnakes,  my current favourite bean variety originally a gift from another gardener.  They’re a tall, prolific climber and great as green beans or dried as a pinto bean substitute.  Which nearly got me into trouble through cooking all of them. Chili beans have been a staple this winter.

Today I’m planting a couple of dozen seeds of these in leaf pots, three to a pot and I’ll weed out the weakest before planting them out in a few weeks time.  I would plant them directly if I had space but the bed they will go into is just about to be cleared and fertilised by a fortnight of chooks if I can get around to moving the chooks this afternoon. And every other climbing space has peas or snow peas still bearing or coming on, or is needed for the Blue Lake beans and tromboncino and cucumbers planted in pots last month

I’m also planting seed of tromboncino and cucumbers and zucchini and button squash by the same method. Yellow cherry, Yugoslav and Principe Borghese are my favourite varieties of tomatoes at the moment, so I’m planting a few seeds of each along with, tomatillos and capsicums in a seed raising box.  I’m skipping eggplants this year.  They are very prone to some kind of virus spread by flea beetles in my garden.  I’m hoping a year off will break the cycle.  I need to remember to be careful not to plant too many tomatoes for the same reason.  I try to avoid planting them in the same spot two years running or they build up disease (something I needed to learn the hard way, several times over – duh!) I always have enough chilis come up by themselves.

And I have an early planted cucumber planted last month ready to go out – Suyo Long is my favourite variety this year.  And a tromboncino or two, and a dozen Blue Lake beans about 15 cm tall already.  And the garden is full.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Vanessa August 18, 2013, 10:08 pm

    Wow your garden is going gangbusters by the sounds of it! I’m jealous of your ability to succession plant – something I’ve never mastered. Enjoy all those yummy legumes.

  • Jude wright August 19, 2013, 6:12 am

    I have been using the moon planting calendar to succession plant at work (SAKG garden) for a while now and have started to do the same at home; it works well as a planing tool, as well as giving the plants the best start in life.
    Your garden astounds me though; such variety and life. I am lucky to get two varieties of beans planed for the season let alone all the other vegetables. maybe I need to plan for early, mid and late crops of each vegetable so I can extend their growing season a bit, any advice on a book or site for that information?

  • Linda August 19, 2013, 9:22 am

    The key is just small quantities of a big variety planted regularly, and using advanced seedlings makes that so much easier. It’s the permaculture notion of having systems, so all you are doing is nudging the system along. I’ve learned that other people’s gardens always look much more spectacular than they are. I only post photos of the good bits. (The beans eaten down to stalks by a $%^#* bower bird that did a houdini to get into a bed aren’t in the photo!) When I’m on a good roll (which isn’t always – I lose the plot regularly), I do an hour or so of mowing a week and pick up a few bags of horse poo or something else high nitrogen – which keeps the bed that the chooks are clearing mulched and fertilised. I do an hour or so in the shadehouse planting seeds (just one or two boxes) and potting on seedlings. I do an hour or so in the garden planting out. Once every 2 to 4 weeks I move the chooks, and once every few months I make compost. And I regularly spend a ridiculous amount of time mending fences to stop said $%#*# bower bird. If I keep that rolling it is amazingly productive. If I lose it, it takes several weeks of real work to get the system rolling again.

    The early, mid and late will vary with every climate, with every microclimate. I’m in the same region as you, but my garden is high – 300 metres above sea level. So most years (especially lately) it doesn’t get frost at all. I think the strategies here are again small quantities of a big variety planted regularly, so you win some and lose some. And then careful noticing so that you build up a real intimate knowledge of your environment. If I wax philosophical, I think this is one of the main things we miss in western cultures. I notice it when I am indoors computer working a lot, I get really disconnected and lose that intimacy. So I get really clumsy with making good guesses. If I wax even more philosophical, I think this is one of the huge risks in climate change, that urban people completely don’t get. Farmers gamble, constantly. They make educated, considered, intuitive guesses, based on the tiny signals that intimacy and experience allow. Those guesses are sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but to succeed, those guesses have to be right more often than wrong. Climate change is making all that experience and intimate knowledge of a place, built up over generations, unreliable. If people think energy costs are trouble for cost of living, they ain’t seen nothing yet. As farmers get the guesswork wrong more often, the cost of food, and food scarcity, will escalate at a rate I am scared to guess.

  • Deb August 19, 2013, 7:40 pm

    Hi Linda,
    glad you like the Rattlesnakes as much as I do. They are great dried beans and look so pretty in the jar.

    We moved house this year and I too panicked about what I had done with my saved seeds. We haven’t got much of a garden yet but as I am school Garden Club coordinator I will definitely get the kids into growing some.

    We now have a couple of acres to garden in so I have invested in your book to help me get it right.
    Deb (greenfumb)

  • Linda August 20, 2013, 9:14 am

    I’m so glad you commented Deb. I went to link to greenfumb in the post, but it wasn’t there.

  • Deb August 25, 2013, 3:51 pm

    I know, I moved house and lost interest in blogging. Might start again when I get the new “farm” up and running.

    Am just being a good permaculture observer at the moment. Already discovered that the space I had mentally chosen for my vege patch floods almost every time it rains.

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