Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Ancient Ones

More planting this morning.  This is the first May holiday weekend in years that we haven't seen rain, cool weather, and/or snow.  On the contrary, it has been a sunny, warm day thus far.   It's 12:35pm and counting, so the day is young. A little rain, I would welcome.  But please, Lord, no snow!

In the raised beds along the driveway,  I planted carrots ("Nantes" and "Jaune du Doubs") and Purple Vienna Kohlrabi (something new to try this year).  Along the edge of the potato patch (North garden), I planted Algonquin Speckled beans, which are a rare heirloom dry bush bean.

In the South garden, I planted yellow wax beans ("Beurre de Rocquencourt").  I only planted a few of these last year, and they were so sweet and delicious when cooked that I promised myself I would plant more this year and freeze a bunch for the winter.  I also planted a few cucumber seeds ("Beit Alpha"), and three rows of Anasazi beans (another new one for me this year).

The Anasazi beans are an heirloom variety sent to me by an online friend, Mike, who is from Arkansas.  Mike has been kind enough to send me all sorts of heirloom vegetables to try, some obtained from his friends in the Mennonite community there, some from American heirloom seed companies, and others that he has saved from his own crops.  He is fortunate enough to be able to garden much of the year (9 months!) and last year started a large community garden for his church.  It was very successful, providing food for many families.  He enjoys what he does, and is hoping to have more people participate in the upkeep of the garden this year.

Anasazi beans are supposed to have a smooth texture and meaty, sweet taste.  They are an old variety and were first planted by the native people of the Four Corners region of the United States.  I am told that "Anasazi" is a Navajo word best translated as, "the ancient ones".

More history from

"Native to the North American Southwest region, the Anasazi bean was named after the cliff-dwelling Native American people that inhabited the area now known as the four corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. The Anasazi bean is thought to have been a staple in the diet of the native people who lived in this region. While not much is known about the specific origins of the bean, evidence suggests that native people have been cultivating and consuming them for more than 1,500 years."

Very cool, n'est-ce pas?   I am looking forward to seeing how they grow.  From what I understand, they are a "half runner" bean...not a vine, not a bush, but something in between.  I haven't used supports or a trellis, as Mike said that the plants tend to support each other.  Fingers crossed! *L*

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