How to Grow ~ SNAP BEANS

snap beans

I am planting green beans (snap beans, string beans) for the first time this year.  I go out daily to see how much they have grown while I was a work.  It has become a daily routine that is somehow calming to my spirit.

I understand that green beans are supposed to be easy to grow and are easy to care for.  I’ll save judgement until I see my crop.

If you are thinking about growing green beans, here are some helpful tips.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Keep beans weeded, and mulch over the spaces between plants to conserve moisture and reduce problems with weeds. Mulch also helps keep the pods clean, which is a terrific convenience with snap beans.  Snap beans are easy to grow in any warm, well-drained soil, but they must have warmth. Wait until after your last frost has passed to set out the plants, then space them about 8 inches apart. A double row, in which 2 rows of plants are grown with 12 inches between the rows, will produce the most beans per square foot. For a steady harvest all summer, set out a second set of plants 3 to 4 weeks after your first planting. Before setting out the plants, mix a 3-inch layer of compost into the soil.  When given a little starter fertilizer and biologically active compost, beans usually need no further feeding. By teaming up with bacteria in the soil, beans create their own nitrogen – the most important nutrient plants require if they are to make strong new growth.

 

TroubleshootingPick snap beans daily from your garden.

New garden beds made in areas that were previously covered with grass often host a hidden danger for snap beans: cutworms. These earth-colored caterpillars are active at night, and often kill seedlings by girdling their main stems, making them look like little felled trees. The easiestt way to prevent cutworm damage is to encircle each plant with a rigid “collar” as soon as it is transplanted. To make cutworm collars, cut an 8- to 10-ounce plastic cup or similar size container into 3-inch-tall rings. Pop them around the plants, making sure you push them into the soil about an inch deep. Another easy way to prevent cutworm damage is to use small strips of aluminum foil to sheathe the base of each stem. After snap beans have been growing in your garden for a couple of weeks, their stems become so tough that cutworms can no longer damage them. Slugs and snails often make holes in bean leaves, and Japanese beetles like to eat leaves, too. Slugs are easily trapped in shallow containers filled with beer or a mixture of sugar water and yeast, or you can treat the area with a slug bait approved for food gardens in order to bring serious infestations under control. Products that use iron phosphate as their active ingredient are considered organic. Use row covers to protect plants from Japanese beetles.

Snap bean pods that dangle to the ground can rot, but mulch helps prevent this.

Harvest and Storage

 

 

You may pick snap beans when they are very young and serve them as baby snap beans, or you can wait until they reach full size for a more bountiful harvest. Use two hands to pick, because heavily-laden bean stems are easily broken. Don’t yank on the pods; hold the stem in one hand and pick with the other. Pick every other day when the beans begin bearing to make sure that they produce to their full potential. Healthy bush bean plants will often rebloom and produce a second (or third) flush of beans when growing conditions are especially good. Blanching and freezing is the easiest way to preserve a bumper crop of snap beans. Blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute and then quickly cool them in ice water. This process brightens and fixes their color while preserving the crisp texture of the pods.

You can read more about growing plants from Bonnie Plants.

P ALLEN SMITH ~ MOSS MOUNTAIN FARMS ( PART 2 )

Here is the second part to my visit with P Allen Smith at Moss Mountain Farms.  My last post toured the first floor of his home.  This week we will travel upstairs to the second and third floor.

If you missed the tour of the first floor, you can check it out HERE.

MASTER BEDROOM

P Allen has the gorgeous historic bed that dates back to the 1820’s.

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Sitting area in the master bedroom

P ALLEN SMITH ~ MOSS MOUNTAIN FARM

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This week’s Farmhouse Friday belongs to P Allen Smith at Moss Mountain Farms in Roland, AR .  I had the opportunity to visit his farm again this year for Farm2home 2016.  He says the best compliments he gets is when someone ask him when we restored the house since the house is actually new.

Some people think of P. Allen Smith as a  male Martha Stewart.  He lifestyle guru—painter, author of seven books, host of two PBS shows and two YouTube video channels—and much more. A true Southern gentleman, he is smart, talented, kind, and has a great sense of humor.  He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of history, heirloom gardening, and interior design.

Entrance Hall
This is one of my favorite places in the house.  I just love the rich pops of color.

p allen smith 7FRONT LIVING ROOM

There are two living rooms in the house.  This is the front one.

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How to Grow ~ SWEET POTATOES

sweet potatoes

Unlike regular potatoes, which grow best when the soil is cool, sweet potatoes like it hot! They are tropical plants that are very sensitive to cold weather. In warm climates, many gardeners plant sweet potatoes about a month after the last spring frost, when both the air and soil are dependably warm. The plants produce lush vines that make a pretty ground cover, so they are a great crop for beds that adjoin areas that are difficult or tiresome to mow.

SOIL, PLANTING, AND CARE

MOODY GARDENS ~ Galveston, Texas

Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas has been on my bucket travel list for many years so when we decided to do a Road Trip along the coast of Texas, I wanted to begin in Galveston so I could go to the Tropical Rainforest.  We decided to go the Aquarium while we were there.  My daughter loved it better than the rainforest.

There are several attractions at Moody Gardens including the Tropical Rainforest, Aquarium Pyramid, MG 3D Theater, 4D Speical FX Theater, Spongebob Subpants Adventure, Discovery Museum, and more.  You can check out their Attractions Page HERE.
Tripp was too small to enjoy the Discovery Museum or go to one of the theaters so I can’t give you any advice on them but I have a few tips on visiting the Rainforest.

AQUARIUM AT MOODY GARDENS IN GALVESTON, TX

Here are some photos I took at the Aquarium at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas.  My daughter liked it better than the Rainforest.  You  can check the post about the Rainforest HERE.

FLOWERS FROM THE YARD

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The hydrangeas are beautiful this year.  They range from bright pinks to blues to a beautiful variegated variety.  I had to grab my camera and get some photos of some of the flowers around the farm.

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FLOATING FARMHOUSE in NEW YORK

The title of this farmhouse was enough to make me take a peak.  I had to find out why this was called the Floating Farmhouse.  You can read the full article here at House Beautiful.

It’s hard to believe this farmhouse (dubbed the Floating Farmhouse) was a sinking ship (pun intended) when owner Tom Givone first discovered it in all its worn-down glory. Located just outside of Narrowsburg, New York, the 1820 manor was weathered and in need of some major TLC. So Givone, an architectural designer, snatched it up and after four years of renovations he restored the home to its original grandeur — and then some.

TROPICAL RAINFOREST – MOODY GARDENS, Galveston, Texas

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Moodys Gardens in Galveston, Texas is a great place for photographers.  You can check out all of my photos and information on visiting Moody’s Gardens at my travel blog Southern Blue Traveler.

 

MAGNOLIA MARKET ~ Waco, Texas

Do you recognize these silos?  If you are fans of the show “Fixer Upper” or follow Chip and Joanna Gaines, you will know that this is Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas.

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