Green Garden: Beans and Corn

My scarlet runner beans race skywards every year, grown solely for the hummingbirds they bring. Each fall, after they have dried to rattling husks in the chill November breeze, I pick the best plumpest reaching-most pods. These are the winner for that year’s  sun, soil, pest and wind competition.  Not that scarlet runners are hard to grow, but in 5, 0r 10 or maybe 25 years I will have created seeds that are ideally suited for the rotten crabby spot I allot them.

Super magic hummingbird-bringing beans, if you will.  With a little piece of me, or at least my choices, in their genetic code.

In his latest New York Times essay, with his typical mastery, rural-observer Verlyn Klinkenborg charts the journey of the Tuscarora people and the corn they have planted for hundreds of years in whatever ground they call home.

“In the history of the Tuscarora, there is an unbroken garden leading from the past to the present, for the only certain way to ensure the vitality of this year’s seed is to bury it and wait for it to come up as next year’s seed.”

Read the essay.

Green Living: Fall Planting

This column is a seasonal round-up of ways to keep digging through the fall and beyond.

For entry-level basil and tomato gardeners, the natural withering and fading seem like Nature’s way of saying, “Hang up the trowel, it’s over.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Consistently cool Fall days are the best time of year for planting perennials and trees, not to mention the right time for spring flower bulbs and garlic.

Whether you plant a tree, a shrub, some bulbs, a row of garlic, or even just a pot of mums, fall is all about putting energy back into the garden after the summer harvest.

A time to plant, a time to reap
—The Bible, book of Ecclesiastes