Back to the Beanstalk- the Sequel

24 08 2013

Remember the beanstalk playhouse from last year?

It turned out OK. I harvested plenty of beans. Unfortunately, it could only be used as a playhouse if the kids were playing a game of “solitary confinement”. What is the solution? Obviously, we just need to make the structure bigger.

Say hello to the new and improved Beanstalk Playhouse. It is framed using 2×2 posts in a tent shape and stabilized at one corner. I planted five varieties around the perimeter- two varieties of green bean, one variety of lima bean, a yellow bean, and a scarlet runner bean. I planted green beans on 3 sides, limas on 2 sides, yellow beans on one, and scarlet runner beans on 5.

New and improved bean playhouse

New and improved bean playhouse

Wait… 3+2+1+5 =…. Either I’m getting really crappy at math or something just doesn’t add up.

Would it help if I told you that the structure has five sides?

Yes, but it still doesn’t add up. You have more beans than sides, Dave.

Off topic- Doesn’t that last sentence sound like something you would hear in a restaurant kitchen?

Anyway, back to the funny math.

This may illustrate better:

Side one – green beans

Side two – green beans

Side three – green beans

Side four – lima beans

Side five – lima beans & yellow beans

And scarlet runners interspersed around all five.

Entrance to the bean tent

Entrance to the bean tent

One lesson reinforced from this latest experience is to space your plants properly. The green beans are thriving from their closely spaced plantings. Green beans… Yum! The lima beans, well, an actual harvest would have been nice. The plants are growing but not achieving much; you know, the limas are kind of like [insert name of favorite politician or Jersey Shore cast member]. I may have crowded them out by planting closer than recommended. But this is my first year growing lima beans, so we’ll file that as a rookie mistake.

Pieces of the old playhouse inside the frame of the bean playhouse

Pieces of the old playhouse inside the frame of the bean playhouse

Do you have any unique ways to grow beans? Let me know…

Public service message

15 08 2013
guess what

guess what

This picture is a gentle reminder.

Reminder of what?

That’s right. Get off your ass and plant seeds for your fall crops. Zone 6 (Central Pennsylvania) seeds should be in the ground already.

Answers to life’s great questions

3 08 2013

There are several questions in life that the multitudes ponder.

Questions such as:

  • How can Dave be as awesome as he is?

  • Can you not fiddle with the Oreo middle?

  • How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

And, of course

  • Is it possible to overwinter a pepper plant?

Some of my blog followers may remember my adventures this past winter. I dug up the plants in October, placed them under lights in the basement, fought off aphids, had fun with ladybugs… the list goes on and on. But did the plants survive?

Well, I must tell you that two out of four survived the winter, one cayenne and one Marconi. Only one plant did well through Spring. It was the Marconi pepper plant, a long, sweet stuffing pepper. Not only did it survive, but it is currently thriving. There are 9 (nine) large peppers currently hanging off of the plant. Pictures show the results.

Marconi pepper plant

Marconi pepper plant

There are currently 9 peppers on the plant

There are currently 9 peppers on the plant

As for the other questions above, the answers follow:

  • It just comes naturally to him.

  • This was a rhetorical question. Stop messing with the Oreo middle. It’s just wrong.

  • If you’re Mister Owl, it only takes three. A 1996 study of Swarthmore Junior HS students took a median of 144 licks. Engineering students at Purdue recorded 364 licks with the “licking machine” they made. A University of Michigan student recorded 411 licks with his licking machine. Harvard students created a mechanical rotating tongue that recorded 317 licks. It looks like a tongue is more effective than a machine. Your results may vary.

This last answer generates many more questions. Licking machines? Mechanical rotating tongues? Wow. Just wow.