Kwintus Bean: The ‘Kwintussential’ Bean

I should be so lucky that my worst problem this week was fearing that my burgeoning Kwintus beans in the Three Sisters garden were flat. Ye gads! Not flat beans!

Kwintus Beans

The Internets said flat pole beans could be a sign of a bum batch of seeds, or poor soil, or the apocalypse. Whoa.

Thankfully, I kept my head about me and went back to the seed package. Turns out, Kwintus beans are supposed to be flat. It’s very common for many heirloom bean varieties, such as Kwintus beans, to start out flat and stay flat.

Kwintus beans

 

The Kwintus beans are on the bottom left, and regular, ole bush snap beans on the left. You can see the Kwintus beans are much flatter and “bumpier” than the regular beans. That’s A-OK.

Kwintus Beans

 

I like the taste of the Kwintus beans much better than the bush beans, which have an ever-so-slightly woody texture. I mean, it’s not like chewing on a stick, but comparing beans to beans, the Kwintus beans are much more tender and flavorful.  Still, they have definitely been much slower to get going, so I think there’s always going to be a place for bush beans and pole beans in my yarden.

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Good News/Bad News on Growing Corn

Operation Growing Corn 2015 is kind of a mixed bag at the moment.  On the one hand, the corn is starting to tassel at the top and drop its pollen.

growing corn

growing corn

I even have one stalk that has a little ear and corn silks forming.

growing corn

But, a raccoon or something else sinister seems to be systematically annihilating a single stalk of corn each day. It’s happening around the perimeter of the area where I’m growing corn, so while I do think the Three Sisters planting is helping deter the nasty creature/s, it’s certainly not been 100% effective. Bummer, I know, Hilda.

And other, far tinier tormentors, are harshing on my  mellow. Hundreds of greenish/blueish/icky-ish corn aphids have descended. Of course, I used my trusty aphid soap solution found here (it’s good for blight, aphids, rickets, scurvy, dandruff or just about anything else that ails ya).

Aphids may be disgusting and make me feel itchy when I see them, but most sources said that corn aphids in particular don’t usually pose any real threat to growing corn. Still, it felt good to put a dent in the dastardly population with my spray.

growing corn

See the big ant on the left? Just when you thought the whole thing couldn’t get any grosser, ants actually “milk” sticky sap from aphids, similar to the way humans milk cows. So, if you suddenly see a bunch of beefy ants hanging around your plants, there’s a good chance aphids are nearby.

growing corn

While I admit the picture above is super yuck, thanks to the the trail of crispy, black aphid bodies letting me know the soap spray is working, it’s not quite as grody as you might think. The white stuff is just flakes of dried soap, and the things on the leaves that look like grains of rice are just from the corn tassle.

So, anyway, that’s what’s happening here: growing corn, cursing the racoons, and killing aphids. How about you?

 

Aphid Away

Summer was due to make an appearance, and she sure did. We had about a two-week stretch of hot temperatures and no rain. I know to you poor folks out west, two weeks is, like, nothing. But to us in northeast Ohio, that’s a long time, and it meant I had long bled the rain barrels dry and had to drag out the hose. I can’t prove this for sure, but a few articles by reputable sources seem to suggest that the unfriendly aphid often makes his first appearance in hot, dry conditions. Scientifically proven or not, that was definitely the case here.

I saw the first aphid on my bolting lettuce plants. It’s not uncommon for an aphid clan to attack an out-of-season plant because, by nature, plants that are past their prime are … past their prime and not as strong or robust. Since I’m really just waiting for the lettuce to go to seed, not eating the leaves, I wasn’t too worried.  It was a group of dark-colored aphids, so they were easy enough to see, and I just kept a close eye on the neighboring plants to make sure there wasn’t an aphid exodus to neighboring veggies.

But I started to get a little itchy when I came back from being away and saw a new kind of aphid on my Brussels sprouts with white, almost translucent, bodies. Be forewarned, the pictures might make you feel all kinds of oogie:

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