Not Jack’s Beanstalk

Des Bagnols Bean, iron deficiency
Anemic Des Bagnol Bean

So this year all of POD’s greenery was planted in fancy organic soils, enjoyed weekly alternating feedings of fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizer, worm castings, and Garden Tone organic fertilizer and was enshrouded in seaweed-enriched mulch. Not a drop of Miracle Gro sullied its soil.

And yet, without a doubt, this was the most troublesome year this gardener has ever experienced. The bug issues have been well-documented (four stink bugs were squished today) but more needs to be said about nutrient deficiencies.

Blauhide Pole Bean, nutrient deficiencyIn the hopes of growing great quantities of beans (Des Bagnols, purple beans, and Blauhide pole beans) were sowed and only a few handfuls were harvested. Preliminary research indicates that nutrient deficiencies are to blame. Likely iron, nitrogen, and/or manganese.

Evidently beans like slightly acidic soil (5.8-6.3) and POD’s committed to springing for a pH tester next year.  Remind me what’s wrong with Miracle-Gro again? Shower POD with tips, dear readers, please?


Haricots Verts, Sil Vous Plait?

Green beans are a wonderful, wonderful thing. If you’re an urban gardener, odds are you don’t have room forfilet nickel the gorgeous towering beans castles that make one of gardens POD knows so striking. (Well, the beanscrapers and the adjoining poulet maison, really tag-team the eye-catching.)

The perfect solution for roof deck gardens? Filet nickel — a high-yield, short-lived French bush bean. These little suckers do well in two-gallon buckets — two plants in each bucket. They grow quickly and produce in one or two concentrated spurts. It means you’ll have to replant often, but POD tends to have several buckets at different stages of maturity to keep a steady stream of beans flowing into the kitchen.

Since beans are highly susceptible to disease this quick rotation keeps nasties in check, too.