Archive for May, 2011

Beans Glorious Beans & A Hip Girl Giveaway

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
This year is the year of the bean in our garden.  Our soil composition and amount of sun light limits the amount of tomatoes we can grow so I’ve planted them in other gardens and am replacing two beds of tomatoes with beans.
Since we’re growing so many beans we’re also building quite a few trelisises for them.  A few months back I was sent a copy of Kate Payne’s The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and have used the adorable instructions for guidance and inspiration while building my bean climbing structures. 

I’ll be giving away a copy of this fun, well illustrated book at the end of this post.

Here’s a photographic list of our beans so far.  Don’t worry, I know this is completely insane.

Stunning Poltschka Pole beans from the Populuxe seed bank.
Petaluma Goldrush from the Natural Gardening Company.  A gorgeous bush bean for drying that was originally brought to America from Peru in 1840.  These are the only bean I actually purchased, how could I resist?
Sunset Runner Beans from a trade with Julianna who I met years ago over on  These pole beans are jaw dropingly beautiful, light and dark purple markings on giant beans and the flowers will be salmon coloured setting it apart from the similar Scarlet runner bean.
Some Gold Rush snap beans I found in my seed stash.  Who knows where these came from. They’re ancient too so I’m thinking they’ll be a fairly low germination rate.
Mr Tung’s from Kelly at the Populuxe seed bank.  These pole beans are a heirloom from originally from China with 100 years of history in British Columbia Canada. Almost extinct, some beans were discovered in an old shed on the deserted family farm & germinated after 50 years! If you are interested in growing these please contact Kelly to be a grower fo
r her seed bank.
Monk Peas.  Not actually a bean I know.  An excellent soup pea from Fox Fire Farm and the Sister’s of Providence Seed Sanctuary. 
 Rebecca found these Purple Peacocks in Almerida’s shack. Described as a beautiful pole bean with dark purple pods, twinning stems, light purple flowers, dark leaves and white beans I’m very excited for them and will be planting them in the backyard bathtub this evening.
Dragon Langerie were a gift from Almerinda, also from Fox Fire Farm and the Sister’s of Providence Seed Sanctuary.  These bush snap beans have purple striped pods, are Dutch in origin, have been documented since 1880, and are also known as Dragon Tongue beans.  They can be eaten right away or used for baked beans.
Slenderette Beans are a bush bean that make perfect 5′ green long french snap beans in a relatively short season (45-55 days).
Vermont Cranberry.  I think I am most excited for these New England Heirloom beans.  A bush bean that dates back to 1797 know for its reliability and hardiness.
Musica are a from the seedbank and produce 9 inch pods on 9 foot plants or something crazy like that. I am not planting these in my yard but have tucked some into my friend Sarah’s garden.  Surprise!
Mystery bean.  hmmmm, this is why you need to label things right away.
Black turtle make a dwarf bush plant so I’m trying these in a container.  These pre 1832 beans are well suited to Northern regions.
Mayflower beans from Julianna.  A prolific pole bean perfect from soup that was brought to North America on the Mayflower.
Cannellino beans are the quintessential milestone soup bean,  another bush bean from Julianna that is growing in Sarah’s yard.
Here’s a happy Sunset runner seedling with true leaves.
The Chickpeas from Gayla are really growing now.

I’ve built numerous trellises, teepees and ladders for all these beans but they’re really hard to photograph. Mine are also not as cute as Kate’s book would like them to be.
My rustic-ness vs the books tidiness aside, this is a nice addition to my DIY library. With great green instructions on basic preserving, gardening and home repairs I will be sharing it with friends and I’d like to start by sharing a copy with one of my readers.

To win your own copy of the book The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
just leave a comment telling us what you’re most excited to grow this year and a email or twitter address so I can contact you.  Rebecca will choose a winner at random one week from today on Wednesday June 8th and Harper Collins will send you a copy.

Our Weekend Farm Visit in Photographs

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
We have had such a lovely weekend visiting Ryan’s coworker Almerinda’s farm in Consecon Ontario in Prince Edward County.  Gorgeous views, perfect weather and trading heirloom beans on a United Empire Loyalist farm is exactly what we all needed.
The lilacs were in full bloom.
A walk in the deserted apple orchard, also in full bloom.  We’ll be visiting in September to taste them all.  It appears to have been quite a diverse selection of full sized trees, some cider apples, some for cooking, some for eating, and a pear so sour it steals your soul.
Some moss.
Lucky Hazel found a bone.
I spent a lot of time photographing pollinators but missed the shot of big fuzzy bumblebees despite them being plentiful.
Gorgeous Lilacs line almost an entire side of the farm.
I love the variation in them. These ones are lighter and rounder.
Almost ready.
bare feet and homemade quilts.
Ryan is in heaven sorting and mapping tomatoes with Almerinda.
These guys came home with me.  That’s a Livingstone Golden Queen.  The Livingstone Tomatoes are fascinating.
HAzel is in her element.
Check out the colour of this clover!
Spectacular Allium.
More pollination. All the trees were in bloom and it was very busy.
Gorgeous sage.
Delicious Chives.
Looks like we’re going to need a wagon.
Every farm house needs a swing.
We planted a lot of tomatoes.
More tomatoes and some prize winning garlic.
Rebecca got to bring this fantastic desk home with her.  Thanks!
Last but not least, the perfect, fantastic, lovely barn.
Everything is ready to milk some cows.
Pretty great view of Lake Ontario from the dairy room milk house.
Another great view, this one from the cow stalls.
We really love this barn.
Sigh, we need a barn.

project 365: week twenty one: May 21st, 2011 – May 27th, 2011

Friday, May 27th, 2011
May 21st,  2011 Ladybug meet macro lens.
May 22nd, 2011 A visit to Port Dover, Ontario
May 23rd, 2011 Grilling peppers for the first bbqed pizza of the year.
May 24th, 2011 She can help in the garden this year! 
May 25th, 2011 Future Strawberry. 
May 26th, 2011 creme brule coral bells.
May 27th, 2011 Oatmeal Blueberry muffins.

project 365: week twenty: May 14th, 2011 – May 20th, 2011

Saturday, May 21st, 2011
May 14th, 2011 Planted the potatoes! 
May 15th, 2011 Skype family portrait while Ryan was in Boston.
May 16, 2011 A view I might miss some day.
May 17th, 2011 Ladies’ babies are growing up!
May 18th, 2011 Black beans on their way into the garden.
May 19th, 2011 Fuzzy Succulents and a macro lens, delicious!
May 20th, 2011 A gorgeous morning, ready to start planting.

How to Have a Perfect Day

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Take 1 mini muffin tin
add 8 types of heirloom beans
and 1 bad cat 
and a mother with a new lens 
for hours of pure bliss.
Hours (!) of bean sorting by Rebecca and bean chasing by Zooey.
My gorgeous beans all mixed up.
May Flower and Poltschka Pole Beans. I think they are sorted by size.
Gold Rush and Cannellino Beans sorted by colour.
Poltschka beans from the populuxe seed bank.
The sun even came out just in time to build the beans some trellises much to Hazel’s dismay. She was pretty sure we went to the park to bring her home a stroller full of sticks.
Zooey guarding his bee house and the first new bean trellis.
Then she took a miracle nap.
So I got to admire our great find…
…and play with the new macro lens.
If you need some of your own beans, please check out the Seed Bank’s Etsy shop.  All money raised from the selling of heirloom seeds go towards supporting the seed bank’s efforts to preserve heirloom varieties.