Nothing Says Summer Like the First Mess O' Beans!

I had just a little bit of time out in the gardens yesterday in between working on essay critiques for my composition students and bringing M to and from his summer activities.

I wanted to try to get some work done while using a lighter, less toxic insect repellent than the DEET I’ve been dousing myself in, and as a result, I got a number of bites.  But I also got a light first picking off the Marvel of Venice bean vines, which are just starting to bear.  We ate them last night for dinner–simply steamed with a little butter and salt.

There are a few blog posts brewing on the back burners right now–one on the “magic” of junk food, another on making a simple soft cheese (I’ve got a lot of good images to go along with the process), and yet another more serious post on herbicide carryover in manure, hay, and grass clippings, which is surfacing as a problem in home gardens now–including one I toured last night at the request of the gardener.

But those posts will have to wait until the weekend or first part of next week, while M and I wrap up our part of the summer together and celebrate his birthday.  I have a feeling there’ll be some ice cream involved!

Meanwhile, the kitchen is now stocked with a nice quantity of garlic heads I dug (and gave blood for) yesterday–all the volunteers and little ones I had in my catch-all allium bed.

Pretty much all the garlic is ready or close to ready for harvesting now–about half yellowed in the field, so it needs to come out before its pretty white skins get stained.

These were past readiness by a bit, and will be a little less attractive, but because they’re our summer stash of “seconds,” it’s not really much of a concern.  I just lopped off their tops and stuck them in my garlic bowl on top of the fridge to use right away.

I’m not completely sure where I’ll be curing all the garlic I’m going to dig out–it does like warm and dry conditions with good air circulation, so the rabbit barn could work, but I don’t trust that the swallows won’t soil it.

Another possibility is hanging it from my basement clothesline (now that I have a dehumidifier) with a fan running to circulate the air.  It’s not as warm as the garlic would like it, but it should be warm enough to do the job–just maybe in a little more time than the usual two weeks or so.

Then starts the process of cleaning and sorting out the heads that will go in CSA deliveries, those that’ll stay with me for winter meals, and then the big decision about how many cloves to plant this fall.  Luckily, we’ve got a few months to think about that!

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