Long Beans

I hardly got any Roma beans this year.  Between the mosaic virus they got and the melon vines strangling them out, they were just not very happy.  I will replant them in the fall, and see what happens.

But we’ve been getting a lot of long beans lately!  I’ve had to scramble to think of things to do with them.  So far I’ve managed salad, curry, lacto-fermented dilly beans, green beans and bacon, and cooking them with tomatoes and peppers.

This particular long bean variety is actually a family heirloom from my great-grandfather.  He wasn’t my real great-grandfather, the real one having died in a tragic car accident when my grandfather was only two.

My great-grandmother, whose name I share, worked very hard as a single mother with her two young boys in New York City.  Her mother wrote from Italy saying, “Send the boys to me and I will raise them.”  But my great-grandmother wrote back, saying, “No, mother, these are my children and you can’t have them.”  Apparently her mother was really mean.  After a few years, she re-married and had two daughters.  The man she married always treated her well, but I am sorry to say that he was extremely abusive to his children and step-children.  They were all scarred from it for life.  He is the one who grew the beans.  He was Italian, like my great-grand mother.  I don’t know where he got seeds for an Asian long bean.

I think it is cool to have an heirloom passed down to me from my family (well, step-family.  It was my mom’s step-aunt’s husband who got them from my step-great-grandfather.  Complicated!!).  It seems to grow really well here, although my mom had misgivings about it, just because the step-great-grandfather was such an unpleasant person.  I never met him.  She did, once.  It’s amazing how the results of bad behavior like that can stick around for so long – generations.  At least he left us a cool long bean, though!

The zinnias have been very beautiful lately, and much enjoyed by bees.  Rose picked one and was holding it up and bees were still landing on it.  We picked a bouquet that evening, and had to shake the little sleeping bees off of it. 

We are also starting to get some okra and Malabar spinach.  We can’t really grow regular spinach easily here (not at all in the summer), but the Malabar spinach loves the heat and humidity and tastes awfully spinach-y, but without the oxalates.

I have been trying to take advantage of the cutting flowers I planted in the garden more.  They’ve been blooming since May, but this is really the first bouquet I picked.  There’s just been no space on the table, or anywhere else baby-proof, with all the vegetables.  Now that the tomatoes are dying back, and there’s some tomato sauce put up, I can make a few inches of room for something that’s just pretty!

We got the first ripe Scotch Bonnet pepper.  I am not really fond of super spicy peppers.  I grew them for Ethan, who wanted to do some Caribbean cooking this year.  He’s not quite sure what to do with it now.   They are very spicy.  When we get more, we might make a fermented hot sauce.  The fermentation makes peppers a little less spicy.

The corn is tasseling!  It is so high, I can’t reach the top of it, even on tip-toe!    High as and Elephant’s eye, as the saying goes.  This kind of corn gets very tall.

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