Garden Fresh: Green Beans

If there's any such thing as easy success in a warm-season Houston garden, it's green beans. As a first-time grower, I just plowed a 2-inch-deep furrow, dropped in the curved white seeds of Bush Snap beans, covered them with dirt, and watered daily.

The sprouts popped up in a week, the plants snaked up the supports, and when the green pods appeared, no bug or critter harvested it before I could.

I was even feeling conceited with my success, until I met Kathryn Creech, president of Enjoy Events. Not only does Kat use a low-carbon-footprint, minimal-waste, environmental approach to her events, she applies the same sensibilities to her garden.

Rather than use her fenced, south-facing front yard for Houston's most popular inedible crop--St. Augustine grass--she and her husband built twin five-foot-wide garden strips, with a long outdoor dining table between them. They renew the soil on a constant basis with pesticide-free organic material, and have a drought-busting drip irrigation system to keep the soil evenly moist, which is the secret of green bean success. Along with pole beans and yellow, green, and purple tri-color beans, she grows peppers, squash, eggplants, melons, and cucumbers for pickles.

When I asked her what kind of yield she gets, Kat replied, "I harvest every other day, until sometime in August." My conceit withered away quicker than my bean bushes did last week in the heat. I was consoled when I went home to my love's version of green beans, with onions, tomatoes, garlic, chicken stock, and other ingredients she learned from watching upstate New York Italian grandmothers, although the exact recipe, apparently, shall remain a secret.

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John Kiely
Contact: John Kiely