Jane's Delicious Garden Blog

The truth about beans

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the January 23rd, 2009

Last weekend we visited friends who live on a smallholding north of Jhb . They have been there for 16 years and have slowly turned what was once just grass into a series of dams, with large acacias and fever trees and lots of nooks and crannies with decks and misters and other delicious things. There is also a vegetable garden. I once gave Steve a young tree tomato sapling from my garden, as a gift to his. It turned out to be a weed – which we only discovered after he nurtured it for a season or two. Oops. He has recently added tripods to his veg garden – even though he has plenty of space he decided to try my vertical ideas. His beans had been very successful he said. Both tripods were full of thick dry pods and nodding towards them he asked what else he should grow there, once he threw that lot in the compost. Well, you must harvest the beans first, I replied. He wasn’t sure what I meant. I opened a pod and showed him the dried beans inside – the bounty to be stored for a winter stew. This led to a great scurry of activity with the children helping pick all the pods which we tossed into a towel and carried back to the pool. As we sat sipping wine and shelling white and brown beans, talking about being squirrels, I realised that if Steve didn’t know about about this bean fact – then there are others out there who also don’t know. So please – if you have withered pods on your bean stalks – find your inner squirrel and store them for winter.

Jane’s Jungle

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the January 16th, 2009

I arrived back from four weeks in Kzn to a jungle. A delicious rambling edible feast of a jungle! Tripod towers of gemsquash dangling above, yellow bush squashes rambling into the pathway, tomatoes winding their way everywhere, monster cabbages, beans galore – yellow, purple, green and white. They have even wound their way through the fence onto the neighbour’s side. I love coming back to my garden after being away for a while. Such a sense of discovery and exploration to see what has grown. I have been busy trimming and cutting back like crazy. Lucky there is the Melville Bamboo organic market tomorrow as I have used all the trimmings to make incense and herbal salt to sell at my stand.

Tip for the day – the best way I have found to store summer squash such as patty pans, zucchini and gems, is to rub them with olive oil and place them on newspaper in a cool, shady spot. Make sure they aren’t touching one another. The skins will harden and they will keep for a couple of months. Keep checking to make sure they don’t go mouldy – if one does, toss it before it affects the others.