All Hail the Legume

Respect to the Bean

I recently had a request for information about beans. I think actually it was more a request about how to cook dried beans than these sorts of facts! For details on soaking beans check out this recipe for refried beans. In the meantime let your mind be titillated with these bizarre bits about beans.

Legume family: Fabaceae (or Leguminosae). The third largest family among the flowering plants (after the orchid and daisy families), and second most important to the human diet, after the grasses.

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Mowed – Greenway Guerrilla Garden

On the evening of August 20th 2009, I took my 20 minute walk, laden with water for my garden. It was the night of the black moon but I was happy loping down the hill the my little bit of greenspace. When I arrived and realized the garden had been mowed to the ground I was in such a state of shock, I went ahead and watered it and headed back home, feeling rather conflicted.

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Pests in the Balcony Garden 09

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We had a serious attack of spider mites. They started in the catnip and yarrow and somehow got to the choko and beans. They took the choko down in no time, fortunately it is a hardy plant and it has now grown back to where it was when the spider mites devoured it.

This was my first real run-in with spider mites, which are quite a common especially in container and greenhouse gardeing. I tried neem oil and washing the leaves off, but I think my problem was too advanced by the time I used these measures. I finally found a recipe for a light glue that is sprayed on the back of the leaves and smothers the mites. This has to be done every so often as the eggs will keep hatching. It seems to have finally put a stop to them and my beans are looking a bit better. I also gave them a dandelion tea because I thought it might help add some potassium to the soil and that is another thing beans can easily become deficient in if they are in containers.

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Planting Balcony Garden 09

Next It was a long cold winter this year and many plants were killed by the ton of snow Vancouver got. Luckily we have a spare room that does quite well as a greenhouse in the spring. I ordered some of my favorite plants from my favorite seed companies, in fact I even became a member of the Hudson Seed…

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Star Bean Salad

In Myanmar this salad is usually made with star-beans* or snake-beans and is another of their famous hand-tossed salads.

Serves 4

  • 500g (1lb) star beans or green beans
  • 1 small onion, sliced very thin and rinsed under cold water
  • 1 T sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 T garlic and turmeric oil
  • 1 lime’s juice
  • ½ c peanuts, chopped
  • salt or fish sauce to taste
  • 1 or 2 hot green chilis, sliced (optional)

Method:
Blanch green beans and cut into about 1 inch lengths. Toss the ingredients together with your hands at the last minute before you serve to your guests. In some areas of Myanmar it is said that the Chef’s hands themselves add the secret ingredient to these famous hand tossed salads.

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