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Midsummer Planting and My New Beans

washing machine beans

We bought a second hand washing machine a little while ago, just by chance from a couple who had retired to Lennox Head leaving a family home with a great big garden to move into a beach house with a tiny garden. They were doing spectacular things in a tiny space and we talked gardens over tea for so long we nearly forgot why we came.  As we were leaving we were offered a packet of bean seeds, a variety that had been passed down to this great grandfather from his grandfather, passed down through at least six generations and who knows before that.

They are really long, flat beans with a dark reddish brown seed, so sweet that two-year-old Teo comes out to “help” me pick.  He’s not tall enough to reach them but he knows he will be able to raid them straight out of the basket (and that’s called “helping” in Grandma’s garden). They are stringless and delicious lightly steamed too, and they’ve survived the run of 40°C  days this last week (104°F for friends in USA).  My new favourite beans.  Washing machine beans.

My established garden all survived the heat wave – tomatoes and cucumbers, beans and snake beans, pumpkins and squash, zucchini and tromboncino, eggplants and capsicums, basil and spring onions, leeks and Molokhia, rocket and carrots, and all the perennial and semi-perennials.  But anything I had planted in the last few weeks that hadn’t had time to get roots down deep and wide enough suffered despite all my Frizzle Weather strategies. I had planted out some well advanced beetroot seedlings a couple of weeks ago and none of them made it through.

And I have something –  I think a blue tongued lizard – eating seedlings in the shadehouse as they come up.  The lizard is prime suspect because whatever it is is strong enough to break through the netting I have over the seedling boxes.  Today is cool and drizzly, perfect gardening weather.  This week is predicted to be showers.  I have gaps in the garden and nothing in the shadehouse to fill them.  This is cruel!

I’ve planted some Nantes carrot seed directly this morning, which might well be folly – we only need another day of heat wave next week or the week after and they’re gone.  But I’m betting now on the start of Autumn-ish weather.  I’m also planting out into the misty rain another round of beans, and just a couple each of all the curcubits – squash and zucchini and cucumbers and tromboncinos.  And some spring onions and beets and the first of the season’s parsnips.  And in the shadehouse some more basil and lemon basil, Paris Island Cos and red mignionette lettuces, leeks and mizuna.

And some strong wire over the seedling boxes.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Fiona January 25, 2016, 10:16 pm

    Washing machine beans sounds like a great name for them. Now that I am gardening in pots I am struggling with the heat but I have moved all the pots and am persevering.

  • Scott January 26, 2016, 10:56 am

    Hi Linda.
    Im in Chillingham, id love to be able to pinch some washing machine bean seeds from you when you have some spare.
    I’m on the other side of the bet than you, im expecting a low pressure system/monsoon. I hope that you are right with that one though, Autumn with wet sou’ easters


  • Linda January 26, 2016, 11:07 am

    Hi Scott, I’ll email you and let you know when I have some dried and ready to send.

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