"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Broad (fava) beans 2012

We have had hectic rain in the past week - a total of 180mm (+/- 7 inches) to be precise.  But, all that prolonged overcast, wet weather put a serious dint in our solar power storage.  Luxuries like blogging fell by the wayside, as power for the fridge and lights took preference. 

Before the wet weather set in I had managed to harvest the last of our broad beans for 2012.

In anticipation of the hectic windy conditions I had them growing in all sorts of places - like next to conifers.  That actually worked well... :)
Broad beans being supported by
a conifer
...and made finding and harvesting them much easier than if they were all sprawled on the ground...
They climbed up inside the conifers
branches, and made the h
of the beans much easier LOL
... but the predictable wind still managed to get it's way some of the time...
The wind managed to have it's way with this lot though
Between the nasty giant yellow slugs and the field mice, the tithe was willingly given.
Mice and slug holes - ah well, guess that's the
tithe taken care of.
But, can anyone tell me what is wrong with these beans?  Those black spots bother me.  Not enough to stop me from eating the  contents of these pods.  But, enough to want to find out what is wrong with some of my broad beans.
Broad bean infection?
Last year I froze a whole bunch of my broad bean harvest, but, for some reason they "turned" in the freezer.  So badly that our friend, and GP, Dr A, said that "if that's what I'm raving about, I can keep them.  If he never tastes another one in his lifetime, that's fine by him"...  So this year I took a leaf out of Mr H's book and I left beans to dry in what sun there was.  Be warned though.  If you choose this method of drying your broad beans, they turn a mucky shade of brown.  Mr H assures me that they are still delicious though... :)
Sun dried broad beans
I roped MKid in to help with the harvesting and shelling.
A small portion of our broad bean harvest this year
Bless him, he told me that picking his own peas and beans, and shelling them is his most favourite past time ever...!  Anyone want the services of a willing worker, who is excellent at what he does, and all he wants in return is a cooldrink to quench the thirst, and an ice cream to cool down the hot, busy fingers?
MKid was such a help - and he loved the chore :)
But, there was an unexpected bonus this year.  RMan doesn't like the "extra" shell on the cooked beans, so I stood there patiently peeling them off after I had cooked them.  I accidentally pushed a couple of the empty shells with my elbow and they landed on the floor.  Scallywag pouched on them!
Scallywag - picking out the broad bean shells in
preference to the proper dog food.
It turns out that dogs l-o-v-e broad beans - even the empty shells!  Go figure :)

At least I don't have to add the cooked shells to my compost heap anymore - I always hesitate throwing something cooked into the compost - now I don't need to.


Mr. H. said...

Looks like an excellent harvest and don't worry about the black spots, same thing happens to ours...not sure what it is but the beans are still fine. Love how you grew them up the little conifer.:)

Dani said...

Mr H - I miss your blogging...!

Thanks for the reassurance. Yeah, we had transplanted the conifers from pots from our town house, where they weren't doing well. So I figured giving them some extra nitrogen via the companion broad bean planting might not go amiss ;) I doing my best to create a type of forest garden LOL...

And the conifers are looking much better than they did - still some ways to go, but it looks like I'm on the right track :)

Modern Day Redneck said...

Seven inches of rain, wow. Glad you got a good harvest though.

Gill - That British Woman said...

that is such a neat idea about growing them up the conifers. I don't like broad beans so never grow them.

Gill in Canada

garden girl in SA said...

Wow 180mm! I thought our 60mm in one day was a lot. The beans look great spots or not.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I think I see what you need for Christmas, one of those small solar chargers that charge your computer :)

DFW said...

7" is a lot of rain in a short period of time. I am no help on the fava bean disease but your harvest looks great!

Linda said...

I love your companion planting idea! I must learn to think more imaginatively. We just froze broad beans. I hope they turn out okay.

Dani said...

MDR - Yup, I'm thrilled with the rain and the harvest :)

Dani said...

Gill - Have you tried broad beans with the inner skin or without. The taste is completely different without.

Dani said...

GG - The dams are all full, and the rain water containers :)

Dani said...

Jane - Thanks for the idea, but when it's completely overcast and pouring rain I don't know if a charger would help...?

Dani said...

DFW - Very welcome rain - even if it was a tad excessive... :)

Dani said...

Linda - Let me know if your broad beans freeze OK. That way I'll then discover if:

1) they don't like being frozen
2) or it was my freezer wasn't cold enough

Leigh said...

How excellent that your dogs like the broad beans so well. I wish I could sun dehydrate, but so far our humidity has spoiled all my experiments. :(

JaneofVirginia said...

They look absolutely delicious to me !

Kris said...

I don't hesitate to put cooked veg, etc. into the compost pile (but no meat or dairy). Everything breaks down quickly and, when buried into the mound, critters don't seem interested between the cooked and uncooked compostables.

As for feeding ANY kind of beans to a dog - well, I gave some to my beagle once. Never again. Poor thing had to sleep on the porch until she'd totally 'aired out'. ;-D

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

They come with a hand crank option too for charging, or at least they do in the US. Backpackers use them when out in the bush. But they are only for laptops.

Dani said...

Hand crankig seems to be the way I need to go - thanks, I'll investigate :)

Dani said...

Jane - Trust me, they are :)

Dani said...

Kris - Welcome - and thank you for taking the time to comment :)

Good to know about cooked food in the compost heap - thanks.

S'funny, the skins of the beans don't seem to have the same effect... LOL Beagles are my VERY favourite dog. Lucky you :)

Dani said...

Leigh - I have also been successful in dehydrating (tomatoes) in my solar oven, with the lid left slightly open :)