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Red Medusa?

July 6, 2014


No, Chinese red noodle beans, aka red “yard long” beans.

I believe “prolific” would adequately describe the initial yields these have delivered. Two modest bamboo bean pyramids are now well covered in the bean vines and they are providing this amount every 2-3 days right now. They will slow down a bit though once it gets really hot and the plants get through their initial burst of production.

On the vine, an eye pleasing contrast:


These are actually just a relative of the common summer cow pea and the peas themselves are pretty good fresh. This being said, the taste and texture of the pods prevent very many from making it that far in cohutt’s household.

They keep their color and do very well in a hot pan with a bit of oil. Yum.



Put together some burnout, writer’s block and some temporarily distracting medical concerns and what you end up with is 48 days without an update. Perhaps this is all behind me now and more frequent postings will be seen going forward.

Fava, Chapter II

May 19, 2014
Young fava bean pods hiding in the foliage

This is the second season we’ve planted fava beans (aka broad beans); we really enjoyed what we harvested last year and definitely wanted to include them again this spring.

Our first experiment was to plant them in the fall (October I believe) as I had read that these are usually quite hardy. In hindsight, the winter of 2012-13 was a good one for this as it was relatively mild, and it turns out that favas are as hardy as claimed, mostly, sort of…

While all the plants survived the winter, each freeze tended to disfigure the soft hollow stemmed plants a little more. The main stems would crimp then fall over but the plant would survive and eventually regain any tender foliage lost to the cold. The plants survived but by spring the beds were a tangled Medusa head of chaos and flowering didn’t really occur until the weather started warming up.

So this year I skipped the cold (I thought) and in February I planted fava beans (“Windsor”) saved from last year’s crop. The ground wasn’t frozen but was still quite cool, so the seed lay dormant in the ground for over three weeks before gradually sprouting about the time I was giving up on them. They handled the last few frosts and a light freeze or two and by late April the healthy plants were covered with flowers up and down the mostly straight stems.

Here in the middle of May we are about ready to begin what should be a very good harvest for fresh consumption in salads and pasta dishes while the summer garden continues to fill in. At some point this week I’ll wander out for my fist serious fava search & rescue mission of the year; they hide well among the leaves and stems, especially when dummy gardeners plant a full 4’x8′ bed on a 6″-8″ grid.

Young fava bean pods

Young fava bean pods

5 Minutes of Quiet, in Pictures

May 4, 2014

Yesterday was D-Day for the garden tour. You know, the one that over the last few months had forced me to address multiple unfinished projects, permanently organize my garden tool/supply storage and do a thorough combing of the area for removal of scraps, artifacts and other random objects that had been moved/kicked around and tucked in corners over the last 5 years of “build out”. It was badly needed regardless of whether or not the gate was to be opened for a few hundred interested friends and strangers to view inside my “fortress of solitude”.


I had trained my brain to ignore scores of lumber scraps, pieces of metal fencing and all of the fragments of bricks, bottles, and other oddities unearthed after residing under a layer of dirt for the past 50 or 100 years. Over the last few weeks Mrs cohutt ramped up her attack on the ever encroaching English ivy and for the first time in a half a century or more, most of the back had been “picked to the bone” (an overly dramatic description and a modest exaggeration perhaps, but in relative terms it makes my point.)

A few minutes before the gate opened and the few hundred (mostly) interested people wandered through, it dawned on me that I had not taken a picture of the garden in this very rare state of tidiness.


Five minutes later the camera was stowed in Lizzie’s house and the first visitors appeared wide-eyed through the gate. I had not considered that in comparison to the confined scruffy area of the alleyway near our back gate, the guests were greeted by an entirely unexpected and open oasis hidden behind the fence.

Mrs cohutt has reinforced how this should be the “new normal” for our little plot. I have earnestly agreed, but the only time will tell if she will be able to re-train this often scatterbrained & ADD gardener to clean up after himself every day. I am certain she is up to the task and hope that I am as well.

Just in case, this is how it looked a few minutes before 10:00 yesterday morning. (All pictures will click through to open a higher resolution version if you are interested).















No words

April 29, 2014

More Spring Salad


Spring salads

Low Vista



Anniversary Gong (and more)

April 11, 2014

First for the “more”:
I created a new permanent page in regards to the upcoming garden tour that’s got me hopping right now. It can found by clicking the upper right of this page were it read s’2014 “Rome in Bloom Tour”, or, alternatively click here.

It’s been a year since the metal roof from a nearby business was deposited on my garden.

(Revisit the post about it here.)

In honor of the anniversary I’ll offer the video below. This was taken yesterday evening; with some breeze the lone remaining piece of the roof “gongs” like an giant wind chime. We’ve gotten rather fond of this familiar noise as we can hear it inside as well as out and it isn’t really that loud or annoying.

It’s only about 30 seconds long; be sure your computer isn’t muted and the volume is turned up a little.

That’s about it; come see me on May 3rd if you are so inclined.

Good News, Continued….

April 9, 2014

After a harsh winter, the spring warmth continues to bring good news in regards to a couple of my garden oddities.

First, the artichokes continue to prove their health and vigor after spending a good part of the last few months in the core of what amounts to a plastic covered haystack. The front plant has at least a dozen crowns actively growing, which should ultimately translate into 30-40 chokes. The plant (plants?) is not as large as the rear hoop-house resident plant, perhaps due to a more confining bed or cooler average soil temperatures over the winter. Or both? The rear hoop-house plant has fewer crowns, (4 or 5) but is much larger in every measurement that the front one. It also is weeks ahead in development and (as Mrs. cohutt recently discovered) holds the inaugural 2014 artichokes, which are growing larger by the day.


The second pleasant confirmation comes from the rice paddy. Last year I just left the rice on the plants for the birds to enjoy (which they did) and hoped that enough would remain to reseed the paddy this spring. In order to accelerate the process a rough poly tent was constructed to (hopefully) raise the soil/water temperature in the paddy, the theory being that this would produce earlier germination and maintain frost protection for the young plants. This “partially” worked in the very top section as the main hoop house partially shaded the lower part of the paddy. The result was the top 1/4 being choked with young rice seedlings but the bottom 3/4 was virtually empty.

No problem. I spent a pleasantly “hands on” session (rice paddy goo-mud up past my wrists) separating and transplanting individual seedlings into a nice orderly grid in the lower 3/4 of the paddy. There’s still a concentration up top, but we can live with it for now. (Note that the small duckweed bloom gives away where the the sun was hitting the paddy as well).


One other spring “good news” footnote is that unlike the Confederate Jasmine, the Carolina Jasmine came through the winter just fine.


Green (Mostly)

March 31, 2014

It’s here: Spring

(Click pics to zoom)


Lettuces: Forellenschluss, Reine des Glaces, Amish Deer Tongue

Lettuces: Forellenschluss, Reine des Glaces, Amish Deer Tongue





Garlic, California Late

Garlic, California Late


Gourds, scrubbed clean

Gourds, scrubbed clean


Imperial Star artichoke

Imperial Star artichoke


Bronze Arrowhead below Amish Deer Tongue

Bronze Arrowhead below Amish Deer Tongue





"Inchelium Red" Garlic

“Inchelium Red” Garlic





Lettuce and Kohlrabi

Lettuce and Kohlrabi

BLACK (and blue)

Bat House 2.0

Bat House 2.0



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