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Ilina and her beanstalk

Ilina plants green beans and they really grew.

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Ilina Ewen
Ilina Ewen

I planted green beans for the first time this year. With the help of my sons, who make for great diggers of dirt, we plopped in bean seeds and mounded them up. A few weeks later, something green started to pop out. I couldn't discern whether the green leaves were sprouts or weeds so I just let them grow a bit more. It turns out, my, I mean, our, beans were growing!

Soon they were wild vines reaching into the tomatoes. The prolific suckers were squatting in cucumber territory too so it's a good thing the cukes didn't make their way out of the dirt this year (not sure why, but it turns out it's for the better). Being new to gardening and approaching it in an admitted haphazard fashion, I had no idea what to expect from those green beans. It dawned on me that I needed to stake them to climb instead of letting them reach into everything in my garden plot. I had visions of Jack and the Beanstalk in my head, and it all clicked.

Now my beans are quite impressive, especially considering I am a novice gardener. They are climbing around their green stakes giving the maters a run for their money. I've been plucking plump yet long beans almost everyday. I don a floppy sunhat and carry a basket as if I am a certified farm girl and walk ten steps to my urban garden. The lettuce and peppers have been tasty, and the tomatoes are ripening as I type. But the green beans have been the crown jewel in the red dirt and manure crown.

We have enjoyed the beans in a variety of ways, and so far the earthy, fresh taste of green beans from my garden hasn't gotten old.

  • Simply steamed with sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Steamed and cut into a potato salad or green salad for crunch
  • Washed and raw as a snack
  • Roasted with garlic and shallots with good quality olive oil drizzled on top
  • Steamed and perched atop greens, black olives, roasted new potatoes, red onions, and tuna packed in olive oil for a simple Nicoise salad.

Lest you be green with envy, don't fret. If I can grow these beans in my packed red clay excuse for soil, I bet you can too. But don't come knocking if you need a green bean fix; I can't promise we'll have enough to share.

Ilina is the mom of two who writes about food here every Wednesday. You can always find her on her own blog Dirt & Noise.

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