Thursday, September 19, 2013

Potatoes and Onions and Beans (Oh My)

Today was a mishmesh of work around the little miniature farmstead.  (We seriously have nothing resembling a homestead OR a farm, but I like the word farmstead and we're always working towards having more of those characteristics so I insist on using it.  :-))

So I did the chickens first thing.  They were yelling to be let out.  And when I say yelling, I do mean yelling.  Listen to this ridiculous hen spout her opinion. (Don't mind the visual, it's just a corner of the coop. They're inside.)


That's Henrietta.  She sounds like that anytime she has a strong opinion on a matter, which is usually when she wants OUT.  I've told her more times than I can count that it's incredibly unladylike to EVER sound like that, but she's apparently left her Victorian sensibilities elsewhere.

So I got the chickens dealt with and moved on to quieter chores.  First I had to deal with the onions that I pulled out 3 weeks ago that were sitting on the covered porch, curing.  I've been pretty disappointed in the size of the onions I've grown every year so far, but what can ya do?  Fail better next time.

So I chopped off the dry, messy ends and trimmed off the roots, and was left with a goodly little amount of onions.  I fit all I could into a mesh onion net that I found online here for only $1.50 and am super delighted with. When I finished up that, I had a bowl of small ones left which will be living in the fridge until they get used up. 

storing onions, onion storage

Then I had to pay some serious attention to the green beans that were growing.  We got hit by hail during their formative days, and I really didn't expect much of a harvest from them, so I went down the road to my friend's Upick operation and spent too many hours picking and paying for a product that I had grown myself.  Then I blanched them and froze them and called it a year, and then my own beans decided that this was too great of an irony opportunity to pass up, and they'd produce after all.  So here is today's take:

harvesting snap beans

Yes, they're purple.  I plant purple bush beans because they're a lot easier to pick against green foliage than green ones are.  Next year I think I'm planting all pole beans.  I can't for the life of me figure out why I've never switched to pole beans before, because they are worlds easier to pick.  Nothing like standing up to harvest instead of working down a twenty foot row on your knees.  Common sense obviously isn't my strong point.  And the purple beans turn green when cooked, by the way.

I had fully intended to ignore the potatoes that desperately needed pulled out of the ground, because I didn't want to deal with the mud that was surrounding them from yesterday's rain.  In fact I had scheduled them to be picked tomorrow after it had dried out a bit, which the weather report said was likely.  So I'm not entirely sure why when I was done with the beans, I headed to the shed for a pitchfork.  I turned over the remaining two rows of potatoes (I pulled the other two rows several weeks ago) and went to town on the agrarian version of a treasure hunt.

It was lucrative hunt.  I found a wheelbarrow full of tubers, some of which were-- well, daunting. In size and shape.
harvesting potatoes
I'll let these sit out on the porch away from the sun for a couple weeks and then put them into the basement for the duration of the winter.  We eat a lotta spuds, on account of they're a lot easier to grow than rice or pasta, so they're our primary vehicle for things such as-- well, butter.  Mainly. Sometimes gravy.

We're not hard to please, really.


  1. Before deciding definitively about pole beans, you might want to make sure you like the taste as well as you like the bush beans. I noticed a marked difference in taste and texture in the ones you picked for our friend a few weeks ago -- not sure which was which, though.

    Were your potatoes grown in raised beds? I figured they'd be perfectly shaped in that fluffy soil.

  2. I have pole beans growing now of the variety I'm hoping to plant-- Blue Lake Pole. I do NOT like Romanos, which tend to be flat and bulbous, and I believe are the type you got from that batch I picked a few weeks back. I grew some of those on accident one year and we ended up throwing them out.

    The potatoes were in the ground, the raised bed option was one we ended up not liking for them. Next year we'll have LOADS of old mulchy straw worked into the soil and I'm excited to see what kind of difference it makes in the texture of it.

  3. Kirstyn, my best onions come from the weedyist patch you've ever seen. The long rooted weeds bring up the things the onions need to grow big. This year Chris weeded the onions and they were planted in the shade so they didn't grow very big.

    Have you seen the book "Carrots Love tomatoes" by Louise Riotte? Very good information.

    1. I'll have to try a different kind of spot next year! They've been in raised beds the last two years, so we'll switch them to the ground next year. Bummer though, because that'll make it more difficult to work around for spring tilling and such. :-D