August 23, 2020 – Green beans and Sunflowers


There’s a time when every gardener wants to rip out the current bed of weather-beaten, bug-eaten plants and put in bright-green, pest-free crops. Jane felt that way about the bush beans planted in April and again in June.

The first attempt failed because of a late frost. The second attempt, the beans sprouted quickly but didn’t produce enough for a meal, not even enough for a snack.

Jane said, “Whack ’em,” but Dick said, “Feed ’em.” Every other week he gave them a liquid fertilizer, and she gave them the slow release granules the following week. They hunted for mature beans but only found small pods.

As Dick and Jane planned for their fall garden, Jane threatened to pull the beans and use their bed for spinach. But Dick wasn’t ready to give up on them yet. He pleaded for their lives, asking her to wait until the spinach plants were ready to plant. Then, if the beans still weren’t producing, he’d concede. Jane agreed.

A few days later, while they watched “The Gardening Channel with James Pirgioni” YouTube channel, James demonstrated how he picked beans to get beans. If you leave beans alone, and a bean pod matures, the plant’s satisfied it’s propagated and won’t produce more seed pods.

Dick paused James’ video, and they went straight-away to pick every single bean found no matter how small. Two days later, this is the bean harvest. Amazing!

Thanks, James and Tuck. Because of you, Dick and Jane had green beans for dinner.


Dick and Jane almost didn’t have any sunflowers. The first seeds ordered never came. Jane finally found a packet at the beginning of June but worried it was too late in the season. She planted four seeds anyway.

The sunflowers sprouted and quickly became the highlight of the couples morning and evening garden walkthroughs. The tallest flower is over 13 feet high. The one beside it is a few feet shorter, and it’s neighbor a few feet shorter on down, like stair steps. It’s a lesson in the importance of placing sun-loving plants where there are six or more hours of sunlight.

There’s something special about sunflowers, even more spectacular than their size, and beauty is what they do for soil. Their taproots dig deep down in the ground one to three feet or longer. Cut the stalk at ground level, and the residual roots will provide drainage and root paths for the next crop. Take time to find out more about the sunflower, how to use them as crop cover, as well as food and beauty.

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