Analysing our 2022 garden: peas and beans

Okay, it’s that time! I’ll be working on a serious of posts, going over how our 2022 garden went, what worked, what didn’t, and what didn’t even happen at all. This is help give us an idea of what we want to do in the future, what we don’t want to do in the future, and what changes need to be made.

It was a mixed bag when it came to growing legumes in 2022!

As with so many other areas in the gardens, we did have flooding around the pea and bean trellises, but that area is a bit more elevated, so it wasn’t much of an issue, compared to other garden areas.

The previous year, we’d grown three types of bush beans, and they did very well, in spite of drought conditions and heat waves. We were very happy with them.

For 2022, though, we decided to try growing pole beans, and shelling beans.

The previous year, we had little success with peas. For 2022, we decided to try an edible pod pea, as well as shelling beans. Plus, we had a whole four saved seeds from the King Tut Purple Peas we tried growing the year before.

Let’s start with the peas.

We used the same trellis we’d grown peas at, the year before, amending the soil a bit more. The trellises were all meant to be temporary, but we did get one more year out of them.

Don’t those peas look nice and healthy?

That was about the best they got.

The Results:

The sugar snap peas germinated, then almost disappeared. I think we got a whole two pea pods out of them. There weren’t a lot of those, however, and were planted in half of one side of the trellis. The shelling peas too up the rest of the trellis, which means some were planted across from the snap peas. Those pea plants also did not do well, which tells me that the soil on that end of the trellis was most likely the problem.

A couple of weeks later, we planted more of the shelling peas at an A frame trellis, shared with gourds and cucumbers. Those plants actually seemed to do better.

In general, though, the peas did not thrive. Even the healthiest, strongest plants only got to about half the size they should have. I did have shelling peas to harvest, but never more than a handful. Usually, it was just a few that I could eat right away.

Then there were the purple peas.

The Results:

As with the other peas the year before, the King Tut Purple Peas did not do well, but they kept trying to grow and bloom for a surprisingly long time. I decided to try starting the four seeds we’d managed to keep indoors. All four germinated and were looking quite healthy. They were transplanted in a south bed with the chain link fence to climb. Shortly after transplanting, I cut the top and bottom off some gallon water jugs and put them around the peas for extra protection from the wind until they could grow big enough to start vining into the fence.

They… grew. Like the other peas, they did not reach their potential at all. They grew tall and thin, without a lot of foliage. There were a few purple blooms and pea pods developed, but they were green instead of purple, except for one. I never tried harvesting them at all, but just left them to go to seed. There wasn’t a lot to collect at the end of the season, and I’m not even sure I want to try growing them again. They weren’t the tastiest of peas, but that could be because they just didn’t grow well.

The Conclusion:

While the peas did not do well, we will still be growing them again. For 2023, I’ve already ordered the variety of shelling peas we’d tried in 2020. The pea and bean trellises have been dismantled, and they will be grown in a completely different area, as we build up our permanent garden beds. Hopefully, that will make the difference. I really love fresh peas, and would love to have enough to freeze. I would love to have edible pod peas, too, but I’m not sure if we will try them again in 2023. I think it will depend on how far we get with the permanent gardening locations.


Then there were the beans.

While we bought pole beans, we also had green and yellow bush beans left over from the year before.

We planted a green and a purple variety at an A frame trellis. The shelling beans and the red noodle beans were planted at what had been a squash tunnel, the year before. The yellow beans were planted with the kulli corn to act as a nitrogen fixer, as well as to help shade out weeds.

The green beans from the year before were planted with our sweet corn as well, but that bed got flooded out. While most of the corn survived, not a single green bean germinated. We bought another variety of green bush bean and planted those, and they did grow.

The Results:

The purple Carminat and the green Seychelles pole beans did great, considering what a horrible growing year it was.! Both varieties were quite productive. I wasn’t picking beans every day, as I was with the bush beans the previous year, but I was at least picking some every couple of days. The purple beans seemed to do the best – even when a deer went by and nibbled on them all along the row!

The yellow bush beans planted with the kulli corn did quite well, too. The only downside was that we had a net around the bed to protect the corn from deer and racoons, which made harvesting the beans very inconvenient.

The green bush beans we planted with the sweet corn didn’t grow as large as they should have; it was a new bed and it had lots of issues, so I’m not surprised by that. Everything did a lot better when we were finally able to finish mulching it all. The bean plants were so small, however, that it was hard to harvest them with the mulch. They were there more for the corn than for us, so I decided to just leave them and hopefully have seeds, but I think they were planted just too late for the season, and none of the pods dried out.

Then there were the shelling beans and Red Noodle beans at the tunnel trellis.

The shelling beans (Blue Grey Speckled Tepary) were very small plants, just barely getting tall enough to start climbing the trellis, yet they produces so many pods! Still, there wasn’t much of a harvest of these very small beans. That photo is the entire harvest! I saved 100 seeds (we’d planted 50) to grow in 2023, and we ate the rest. It was the first time we’d tasted these beans, and they were barely enough for one meal! Still, we found them tasty, and I look forward to trying them again. I hope a better growing year will improve things.

As for the Red Noodle beans…

These are supposed to be a vining type bean, but it wasn’t until near the end of the season that they actually got large enough to start climbing the trellis. It took even longer before I finally saw blooms. We were starting to harvest and pull up the garden for the end of the year, when I found a single, solitary, baby red noodle bean pod, which you can see in the above photo.

I had been looking forward to trying these beans, and would like to try growing them again, just to find out if we like them! Not in 2023, though.

Conclusion:

Beans are such a staple crop, and we enjoy having a variety of types, we are definitely growing beans again in 2023. Along with the seeds we saved for shelling beans, my mother gave me a jar of white beans that are descendants of beans she used to grow here. She gave seeds to my sister to grow in her own garden, which she did for quite a few years. She’s not growing shelling beans anymore, though, so she gave her saved seeds to my mother, who passed them on to me. What a circle!

On top of that, we have ordered seeds for green, yellow, purple and red varieties of beans, including one that is supposed to be good as both a fresh bean and a shelling beans.

While we’ve had our failures this year, beans are one of the few crops that have produced really well for us, even in adverse growing conditions, making them a reliable food to grow.

The Re-Farmer

5 thoughts on “Analysing our 2022 garden: peas and beans

  1. Isn’t gardening funny that way? I don’t know how the farmers do it, producing the same reliable crop each year. That never happens for me! One year I’ll get all excited about a crop or variety that did so amazing, and then can’t get it to grow again for 2 years straight. Peas and beans have been especially boom or bust for me. Cucumbers are pretty much the only sure-fire crop I’ve had in 10 years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Farmers have crop losses quite often. Last year, our province declared a state of agricultural emergency due to the drought. Not only were crops decimated, but those raising animals were having difficulty providing enough water, having to buy food when they normally would have been grazing, and trying to protect them from the heat.

      I think we generally don’t hear about crop losses until it’s on some grand scale, but it’s a constant battle against weather, animals and insects.

      Like

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