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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Garlic and Dried Beans

Today Jean went through our stocks of garlic to collect good specimens for planting. We had already put aside good sized corms into paper bacgs back when we harvested in November/December.

 After a couple of hours of work we ended up with 450 cloves ready for planting compared to 330 last year. There was one minor problem with some of the stocks. A powdery residue which seemed to be the result of something eating a few cloves. Next year we will try hanging the garlic rather than use the drying racks.

The cloves are divided into 13 groups. Some are specifically known varieties such as American White and Allsun. Others are varieties collected from retail outlets that labelled them as Australian Grown. We kept each outlet separate even when we collected from the same outlet but on a different date. There is even one bag that contains garlic grown by a friend who is able to keep hers for up to two years - amazing.

13 bags of Garlic

The beds for the garlic were prepared last week and Jean's job now is to get them all in the ground.

Keeping Jean company in the Cave while she sorted garlic it was an ideal time to shell the dried beans that had been collected. This is the first year we have tried growing (and being self sufficient) in dried beans. It most probably will be the last year.

Despite a substantial planting the harvest was small. The Borlotti bush beans were successful. The plants grown in our house yard did well. Although I find bush beans a pain as they fall over and pods drag on the ground.


The Borlotti planted in the outside Tomato/Vine bed were eaten by Wallabies and/or rabbits.

The Haricot beans out there had their base leaves nibbled but survived long enough to have the stand knocked over in a storm. But like their namesakes in our protected garden they grew enormous plants with lots of pods. The pods were mainly empty or had diseased beans. Either something missing in the soil or too much nitrogen or just bad luck. Consequently despite the mass of foliage the result was only a cup full of beans.


Miniscule volume of Haricott Beans on the left

We planted Lima beans from dried beans in the pantry. The vines grew and flowered beautifully but there was nothing but distorted tiny beans in the shell. Again, was the problem our soil preparation, hybrid beans or just bad luck?

Front of the Lima/Christmas Bean Curtain with Green snake bean on the extreme right and a Red Snake Bean on the extreme left.


Christmas Beans were planted beside the Lima. The end result was a curtain of healthy green. With the Christmas beans there was a small harvest but even smaller than the Haricott.

Christmas beans on the right
Strangely though in the same curtain were two Snake bean plants one on the right was a green variety and the one on the left a red variety. These grew perfectly and provided us with a steady supply of steamed green and red beans for the table.

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