Frugal Gardening 101: The Week of Green Beans

So… funny story… At the beginning of the growing season we planted green bean seeds, and then went to great lengths to create a simple trellis for them to climb on once they sprouted.  Well a few weeks later, we couldn’t figure out why our young green bean plants refused to climb our trellis.  We went back to our seed packets to see what we did wrong, and discovered that the seeds we used were of a bush bean variety.  This variety of green bean matures all at once so that you have one single week of “OMG! what am I going to do with all these green beans?!“, and then they are gone.

Our week for green bean overload was last week, and after several days of “let’s add green beans to this recipe,” we decided to make a traditional green bean casserole to use up as many beans as we possibly could in one dish.  Upon further pantry inspection, it was discovered that we had neither cream of mushroom soup nor french fried onions on hand — so the traditional recipe was pretty much out.  Thankfully, we found a slightly different adaption to make green bean casserole from scratch thanks to Alton Brown over at the Food Network to compensate for the lack of specific ingredients.  It’s really quite good, and I think much healthier than the traditional recipe since you’re effectively making a lower-sodium version of cream of mushroom soup and baking (rather than frying) crispy onions.  I even made a few substitutions on the fly (swapping out 2% milk for the cream, using canned mushrooms instead of fresh, and skipping the nutmeg entirely since Mr. Silly Simple isn’t a fan of nutmeg), and it came out great!

Green Bean Dish

We have also been collecting some other garden veggies this week, getting our first tomatoes, some carrots, more peppers, and a few onions — as well as the usual chard, lettuce, squash (what’s left of it… see below) and herbs.  Even our marigolds (pictured above and below) have been gracing our table.  :-)

Squash Problems:

On a more somber note, apparently squash plants, along with their vine relatives like cucumbers, become increasingly vulnerable to bugs and diseases as the summer wears on.  We lost about 2/3rds of our massive crookneck squash plant this week as well as all of our cucumbers due to the tag-teaming of squash bugs and cucumber beetles.  It was pretty shocking to come to the garden and find so much death, when just a couple of days before they were alive and vibrant.

I didn’t get a picture of the death and destruction, but you can see a big hole in our garden in the picture below (what is also not pictured, however, is the void left in our hearts that was previously filled by the joy of bountiful harvests of squash and cucumbers).

Garden Picture

The circled area is where the squash and cucumber used to be, but aren't any more :-(

So now we have a bit of a hole in the garden, and we are researching things we can fill it with for fall.  We are thinking green beans and carrots to start with, and possibly coming back with lettuce and chard if there is room once the weather cools off.

What are you planting in your summer/fall garden?

Check us out over at: Amy’s Finer Things!

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3 Responses to Frugal Gardening 101: The Week of Green Beans

  1. Miranda says:

    I didn’t even plant any beans in our garden but I did plant extra peas instead :).

    • sillysimple says:

      I think sometimes the seed packet is mislabled… but for me it always seems like the stuff i plant doesn’t grow where I planted it–more like a few feet one way or the other.

  2. Pingback: Frugal Gardening 101: Onions | Silly Simple Living

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