3 colors of beans

three colors of beans


Purple, yellow and traditional green — this is why I bought that packet of bean seeds back in early May. Though the purple ones in particular lose their color pretty quickly. I’ll stick to 20 seconds in the microwave and leave a lot of crunch.

We will need to work at keeping up with the vegetables from the garden — that or have a party and cook for lots of people. We still have plenty of kale, though the salad greens are starting to bolt. And then there’s the output from this year’s three zucchini plants: we seem to get at least one zucchini a day. What to do with all of those? Add to stir fry, spiralize into noodles, make chocolate zucchini cake — or? Otherwise I will just have to freeze for winter baking). Perhaps the zucchini and beans are feeding off each other in a two-sister variation of the three-sister plantings (corn, beans and squash) that Native Americans favored.

The tomatoes have yet to ripen, though at least we can see fruit  (yes, I’m jealous, Izzy).

This was Saturday’s harvest:

saturday harvest july 2016

including more of those beans, plus some basil:

saturday beans and basil

A pop of summer color

When I looked out the kitchen window this time last year, I knew what was missing: color in the backyard flower bed.

Not this year.

The bold red of these crocosmia flowers are visible. Yes! All the more impressive since the flowers themselves are maybe 2 inches. (I’ve been spreading them out from their initial spot at the corner of the house; should I do more?) They also pair really nicely with the yellow flowers in a shrub that anchors one end of the bed. Which the bees were all over tonight.

red pop in backyard july 2016


Feeding the tomato plants, naturally

It’s July 1 and I’m excited that we have a few green tomatoes among our dozen or so tomato plants. It’s been an unusually dry June, so some plants are still on the small side. No idea when they’ll ripen. But the lemon boy plant has this:

lemon boy tomato july 1 2016

And one of the Caspian pinks is offering up this:

caspian pink july 1 2016

I won’t show you the smaller ones, but I’m hoping I can get a growth spurt going thanks to a gift from some friends — a big bag of extremely light, extremely fluffy Lancaster county cow manure. Honestly, this is so light, it feels like sawdust. Sold by the honor system for $5 a bag. Honestly, the horse farm down the road should bag up its aged manure and sell it on the side of the road too.

tomato food

We don’t use chemical fertilizers, and we still need to put down last fall’s mulched leaves/compost as a way to feed the soil and keep down weeds. So I’ve put a trowel full of manure around each plant, plus some egg shells for calcium and to create obstacles for creepy crawly bugs, and have tried to water it all in. Maybe I should give them another dose next week?

fed tomato plant july 1 2016

The onions are walking


A couple of years back, we picked up some “walking onion” bulbs during a West Asheville garden tour. This is a perennial, and we were curious what it would do. When, we wondered, does harvesting end the perennialness of this plant? And how does it handle winter?

We didn’t do much last year beyond planting a few of the year’s new bulbs. But this year the raised bed was bursting with green early on. At one point this spring, I needed an onion and thought maybe I’d find one. I rooted around with my fingers but felt nothing thicker than a leak. I guess onions don’t survive the cold. I wondered if we’d done something wrong and we wouldn’t get anything. At least the deer were leaving them alone. Perhaps a squirrel dug up a few, but we weren’t concerned about fencing in this crop.


Then the stalks really shot up and twisted a bit. They reminded me of garlic, and I briefly wondered if I needed to cut them, like garlic scapes. But before I could decide, the wrapped-up bulbs at the top started opening up, and multiple bulbs were inside — sometimes three, sometimes five, sometimes even more. The stalks toughened enough to stay upright. And sometimes another stalk grew from one of those above-ground bulbs, eventually creating more.

This was interesting. We eventually pulled one out. The onion we found was more the shape of a shallot than your standard round onion. But it worked just like an onion when we cooked, and if we cut the stalk in thin slivers with scissors, we could use that instead of green onions. Sensing we would have a glut of bulbs, we started handing out a few to friends.

And then the plants flopped over.

This, it turns out, is what they mean by walking.

onions walking

Left to themselves, the new bulbs will seed and start new plants. (I’ll put them where I want, thank you.) The onions are now mostly pulled out of the soil, so, yes, I think we need to harvest those.

I’m hoping that this year’s bulbs will turn into new onions next year. And I’m curious what will happen before frost — another crop? I’ll find out; I’ve already started planting them.

And it’s time to keep giving away those bulbs.

Late May in the garden

We’re in the garden’s annual purple phase, dominated by the Siberian irises. I’ve spread them out so there are many clumps. I wish I could be as successful dividing the amsonia (or finding more). I need to thin out the black-eyed Susans and hope that will let the Walkers Low take off.

purple 2016

This year we have some white Siberian irises in one spot as well as lots of purple ones. I can’t remember where those came from, but I’ll be looking to spread them out over the next few years.

white and purple siberian irises

The first red-hot poker is blooming. (Yes, those are more Siberian irises behind it, and some yellow irises of some kind to the left.)

red hot pokers may 2016

Last weekend it looked like this:

red hot poker almost in bloom 2016

The next plant to bloom is likely to be this peony. Yes, more Siberian irises. You want some?

peony about to bloom

Some alliums that I thought had disappeared are back. But just some of them. I want to move these out of an ignored far-back bed:


We’ve also got these alliums:

alliums bells

These dianthus along the front walkway really look much more pink. I want to extend their section of the border (and get them off the walkway):