The last of what we have to say about beans and squash

If you’re just joining us, welcome to our blog about beans and squash! Haha, okay…we’re joking. But seriously, if anyone looks at our posts from the past year, one might think that’s about all we grow. It’s not, but beans and squash are about the only things that truly proliferated in our garden this year. So it seems fitting that, as we approach the end of the season, we should at least pay one final tribute to the beans and squash that are going to keep our bellies full this winter.

But before we get to that, we have to point out a statement we made in last week’s post in which we discussed the year’s first frost. (Things didn’t actually frost over, but we came very close.) In that post we said the following:

So it seems our hopes for a warm October probably won’t happen.

Well, it seems Mother Nature just might have taken pity on our poor, poor garden, for it looks like we’ve ventured into an Indian Summer! Yep, the past couple days have been unseasonably warm with daytime temps reaching into the 80s. And it looks like the trend is going to continue until the weekend. (Good thing we haven’t yet made the switch over to winter clothes!) So the roller-coaster of a year in weather just keeps going and going. Now, five days of warm weather isn’t suddenly going to make all our tomatoes ripen, but it might do something good. We’ll do another (and final) roundup of pictures next week, so we’ll see what happens.

Meanwhile, back inside, we’ve been slowing watching our collections of Long Pie Pumpkins turn from green to bright orange.

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Sorry that the picture is a little dark. In the light, these guys nearly match our kitchen’s orange walls! The one at the top has ripened the most, so it’s very possible it’ll become a Thanksgiving (or sooner!) pie. You might be wondering about that green squash in the upper corner. Well, we are too! With an unintentionally large crop of traditional zucchini this year, we’ve been paying close attention to the zucchini versus the Long Pies, which look remarkably similar. The way to tell the two apart is that the Long Pies, on the vine, develop a bright orange spot on their undersides. At that point you pick them and let them ripen indoors. When we picked this dark green squash just a week ago, we were pretty sure it was a zucchini. It did have a slightly unripened, yellowish spot on it’s underside, but it wasn’t bright orange. Well, over the past week, that yellow spot has turned more orange than not. If this is a zucchini, the yellow spot should have begun to turn a little green by now (with the whole squash going completely dark green in a couple weeks). As we already mistook one zucchini for a Long Pie earlier in the year, we don’t want to make the same mistake twice. So for now, we’re just keep an eye on it.

As for beans, well, the pole beans haven’t been showing any signs of stopping in the cooler weather. We came away with this haul over the weekend.

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That’s a variety of pole beans on the left and Christmas Lima Bean pods on the right. After shelling everything, we have yet another pan of drying beans.

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The lima bean pods always look more promising than they are, as each pod  generally only holds one to two beans. As for the pole beans, we didn’t get nearly as many as we first thought because some of the pods/beans had gone moldy. Makes sense considering how cool and damp its been until this week. We’ll be doing another bean harvest over the weekend, so we’ll see how things fare after the warm week.

So our bean collection this year is looking pretty good.

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We’ve got a nice big bag of sorted beans, and more that need to be sorted. We’ll be transferring these into canning jars soon so that we can easily store them into the winter. No doubt, we’ll be enjoying some multi-bean soup in the coming months! (And, of course, we’ve set aside a good complement of seed beans to plant next year.) Hmmm…squash and bean soup actually sounds pretty good. Maybe that’ll be something to experiment with. 🙂

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