July 2, 2010

Seven Miles Of Beans




Although I am no Henry David Thoreau cultivating seven miles of beans, I can tell you about my 144 square inches of beans. As far as gardens go it is a bit on the small side. However, it is pure growing magic just the same.

This spring my gardening partner and I discussed planting more vegetables in some of the containers on our porch. After talking about buying some seeds we decided to see what we could do with what we already had. "Well", we thought, "all those beans in the kitchen are seeds. Why not use some of them?"

I grabbed the kidney beans and took them out to the back forty. With thumbs hooked in suspenders I viewed my square foot of rich, dark soil. I planted a handful of beans. A few days later they were poking up their greens heads and reaching for the light. Then, before the sprouts were barely established, I discovered the results of what Thoreau called the "enemies" of the garden.

Crawly things were eating great chunks out of the beans' beautiful, broad leaves. They were eating faster than the leaves could grow. It was a race, and I was not sure who would win. I decided to leave all the creatures be. I wanted to see who would win this life and death battle unencumbered by blunt human intervention. It was hard to sacrifice the fresh new growth, and possibility of a few cups of dried beans in the fall.

So far it looks like the beans might win, but the experiment is not over yet. If my square foot of beans bears fruit at all I doubt I will have Thoreau's problem and have more than I want. But like him, this tiny plot of beans is attaching me to the earth. Seven miles, or one square foot - it is all green fuse magic.

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