Pole Bean Planting—the ultimate urban space saver for pole beans and other vines such as squash and cucumber.

April 13 was one of those kinds of days when I feel like I lived a lifetime in one day.  Yesterday, like any lifetime, can be divided into segments: Pole Bean Planting at the Garland Good Samaritans; gardening at the Garland Community Garden; and writing the story:  Monarchs Made in Garland.    I’ll tell the Monarch story in another article.


Pole Bean Planting Part Two at the Garland Good Samaritans

On April 13 at Garland Good Samaritans center we put in 8 cane poles and about 40 Kentucky Wonder Green Pole beans to grow around the poles.  We also had the opportunity to inspect the eight 27-gallon pots that we planted with beans and calendula (an edible flower).  I’m happy to report that in the six days since we planted the beans and transplanted Calendulas that all the beans have germinated and all the Calendulas are surviving.

Two Calendulas are near the center of the pot.  Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean plants appear close to the poles – Garland Good Samaritans – April 13, 2017

The eight pots are part of a Citizen Science project that we are undertaking with the staff and clients of the Garland Good Samaritans.  When the beans begin producing we will track the poundage and weekly market value of the beans harvested from mid June until the first week in November.  In December we will publish a report for the community regarding the results of this Citizen Science project designed with the goal to inspire more people in our community to grow some of the food they eat.

The canes that we inserted into the ground and the beans we planted around them represent an even simpler approach to the urban garden than the container garden.  You don’t have to invest in a pot and 27 gallons of garden soil.  All you need to do is cut down eight river canes (plentiful in our North Texas area).  The canes should be about 8 feet tall.   Next, find a sunny spot in your yard and dig four to eight 18 inches deep holes.  Put the canes in the holes and pack the soil back in.  Pour a little garden soil around the poles (.75 cu. foot sack should be sufficient for all 8 poles).  Ideally bean seed should be soaked overnight.  Plant about four beans around each pole.  In 65 days you can begin eating green beans.  As long as you water them now and then and harvest them on a regular basis, you will have beans from about the second week in June until our first frost.  Pole beans are among the most drought tolerant vegetables.  Like okra in our area, they thrive on neglect and poor soil.  After all our hard work we were rewarded with a lunch prepared under the shade trees by Mike, one of the great volunteers at Garland Good Samaritans.



LIVING OUTSIDE THE BOX:  Three Garland Good Samaritan Volunteers – April 13, 2017

Gardening at the Garland Community Garden Yesterday and Sharing Space with the Rolly Pollies and other undesirables

Our garden is growing more beautiful and interesting by the day and more and more residents are discovering it and stopping by to tell us how much they enjoy driving by and seeing it there.  Yesterday I installed another trellis and bean pot in the Bean Patch down at the garden along with a couple of tripod trellises and beans in the Children’s Garden. 

The Golden Bantam, Black Aztec and Oaxacan Green Dent corn that I planted a few days ago in nearby beds isn’t up yet, but it takes about 14 days for that seed to germinate.  I am a little concerned about the seed as the area I planted them in had so many pill bugs.  I did scrape up most of them, however and carried them off to the riparian area that is in between the garden and the creek.

Rolly Pollies, correctly referred to as Pill bugs (Armadillidium vulgare) and sow bugs (Porcellio scabar), feed mostly on decaying matter.  They are important to the decomposition process of organic matter.  However when they are in great number they can feed on the tender roots and lower leaves of newly transplanted vegetables.  I do not recommend dry leaves as mulch in the vegetable garden because leaves are a great habitat for these pests.  If you must use leaves then don’t pile them up against the stems of your young vegetables.  Keep the mulch four or five inches away.

I wondered why there were so many so I “googled” the topic of Rolly Pollies and learned that while they mate all year long, March and April are the peak months for their mating.  If you really can’t stand them and don’t have a good area like we do to carry them off to, Diatomaceous Earth is an efficient solution.  It is also the best organic solution for fire ants.

Speaking of fire ants:  No I don’t like them and if you could see my ankles right now you would understand why.  However, begrudging as I may be on this topic, I do recognize the positive reasons for their existence:  Their nest-building activities reduce soil compaction of our heavy clay soil (so I guess we can expect the presence of fire ants forEVEer.  Also, a major source of their diet consists of other arthropods (insects, ticks and mites). 

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