On the last day of spring we harvested our broad beans.
For months our broad bean plants have been growing in our kitchen garden. They started as beans saved from another season's harvest and then planted into our rich, composty soil. Slowly over the weeks those seeds pushed their way out of the ground and became little plants. And then over the months their stalks grew taller and thicker, their leaves filled out and then they bloomed with pretty white flowers. And finally, those tall leafy plants that started as beans, started growing pods of beans of their own. Each flower a pod, each pod filled with beans.
And we watched those pods. We saw them change from little green slithers to fat and chunky. We saw them get longer and larger and we noticed the bulge from each bean inside.
And we watered them and weeded them and kept the slugs off them. And as the pods got heavier we tied the plants up to stakes to help them stay up.
And then last week or the week before we started picking some of the fattest, highest pods for our meals. Just a few at a time to ensure they had enough time to grow to their plumpest.
But late Thursday night when I was out collecting slugs (as you do), I noticed that an animal, possibly a possum, had been feasting on our precious beans. That animal had been greedy, tearing pod after pod apart and gobbling the beans. Double podding them even.
So Friday evening, before we thought they were ready, and after school and work and dinner, we took a book and a beer and harvested the rest. It was a lovely balmy night and we took turns reading to each other as we picked.
It was a week or two earlier than we would have liked to harvest them. But better early than never. Our home is in the middle of a forest, our boss is mother nature, she decided.
And see those pale pink nodules on those roots? In one of those mysterious relationships between bacteria and plants that we don't completely understand, he calls it symbiosis, plants take nitrogen from the air, store it in those nodules for slow release nutrients as they grow and then when the plants dies and decomposes they put nitrogen back into the soil. That makes broad beans plants as delicious for the soil as their bean are for us. So we snapped the bean plants off at their bases leaving the roots in the soil for fixing and their stalks we chopped back into the soil. Clever plants I say.
And us? We've got a crate filled with beans on the floor of the kitchen waiting to be eaten in all kinds of dishes over the next few weeks. That is if the girls don't eat them all raw first.
Do you go batty for the broad bean?
What's your fave way to eat 'em?
Do you double pod?
Can you believe its December?!
Happy summer/winter my friends.