April 13th to 19th, 2015
Good Mother Stallard Pole Beans
This week our first planting of cow-peas went into the garden. We have chosen Good Mother Stallard Pole Beans from Baker Creek Heirloom’s Rare Seed site for this first bed. The beans are large, with a mottled purple and white pattern. The pods should be ready to harvest in 85-90 days, which means we will be looking for them to come of the vine around the beginning of July, although some of the people commenting on their own cultivation of this bean suggest that they will not really produce at all until the end of the summer. We will see what happens with these fellows.
I like to grow cow-peas generally for several reasons. Number one among them is the incredible nutritiousness of the bean. These little dudes are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. You can read more about the nutritional value of the bean at The Bean Institute’s Website. Number two, they are also beneficial for the soil. Growing beans in the garden can improve the nitrogen levels of the soil by fixing nitrogen from the air. Technically, its not the beans themselves who are doing the work, but a bacteria which lives symbiotically on the roots of the bean plants. Its important to inoculate your bean seeds with these important bacteria to insure a healthy population. The third reason I love having beans in the garden is that they are easy to save. Since I harvest my beans dry, they can store indefinitely, so long as I keep them dry, with no additional processing. That is a great bonus. Finally, I simply like the look of the plant. This is a vining plant which can grow up to 12 feet in length and produces small orchid-like flowers before putting on long green pods. I grow them up tall A-frames which create walls of green in the garden adding to the labyrinthine feel, creating added shade, and a rich luscious look.
Poppies in Bloom
One corner of our vegetable garden is devoted to flowers and herbs. The goal here is to encourage beneficial and pollinators to visit the garden, as well as keep them all well fed. Right now that portion of the garden is in full bloom.
Wimberley Valley Art Fest
This week also saw me taking my work to my very first arts festival, our local Wimberley Valley Arts Fest. It was quite an adventure. I rented a tent from the festival and built up an internal display system. It took me several hours the day before to get everything to get everything set-up, and the festival ran two days over a somewhat wet weekend. I found that the turnout was pretty low and my work did not garner much interest. I learned a great deal about display and salesmanship, but mostly that I am not really interested in it. I love painting, but selling paintings do not appeal to me quite so much. I did set up my easel and get some work done, and I was right by the music stage, which had a lot of great music all weekend.
I proudly support the festival, and I am sure that those who groove on the festival scene will really like this one. I serve as treasurer of the Wimberley Valley Art League which is the festival’s parent organization, and I am sure that next year I will be involved as a volunteer in helping the festival be the best it can be, but I won’t be doing any more festivals myself, its just not my cup of tea.