rattlesnake beans


progress at boe farm, 6.5.14.

the kale has a mind of its own and wants to fulfill its namesake as a dino(saur). the parsnips are curious. they take a very long time so they’re testing my patience. but we have decided to stick with it and see what happens this winter.

we are very heavy on beans this year as they did well for us last year: scarlet runner, rattlesnake, romano, red cranberry.  it’s also insanely rewarding to have your own dried beans.

© desixlb 2014


scanning boe farm at 5:40pm, 6.10.14

it’s hard to believe how vibrant and generous nature is.  the colors and textures of all this goodness:  red velvet lettuce, waldmann’s dark green lettuce, chocolate cherry tomatoes (thank you starryowl5!), rattlesnake beans, scarlet runner beans (this plant is from last year’s stump!), meraviglia di venezia beans (from last year’s one and only remaining seed), potimarron squash, dino kale, romanesco artichoke, sage and purple carrots.  

the satisfaction grows ever more as we have grown all of these from seeds, except for the artichoke and sage.  we continue to learn from the earth.

© desixlb 2014


8.8 and boe farm is looking very much the summer-to-fall garden lately.

- our current harvest basket looks like a cornucopia, ushering in autumn; every harvest is better with flowers, don’t you think?

- the mexican oregano is thriving in boe, after moving from foe; the garlic chives is sprinting for fall; 

- this new chrysanthemum family addition is an insect repellent; we keep meaning to make a soap out of the dried leaves;

- as usual, we have more lovage than an entire village needs, but are happy this fat caterpillar has found a comfy hammock;

- the rattlesnake beans are having a rave;

- the huacatay and the lemon verbena are both flowering, sending out tiny, delicate blossoms;

- pierre is siring offsprings at a steady pace;

- our first japanese cucumber, grown in san francisco!  look optickitty!

- and the italian broccolis are poking up their heads.

the feeling i get when i’m in the garden is incomparable.  the scent of the tomato and zucchini leaves, the lemon verbena when i rub against them, the fresh greenness of the favas.  i feel so alive and grateful.

be well good people!


© desixlb 2014

Vegetable of the Day: Rattlesnake Beans

What they look like: Large, flat beans, yellow to green in color, with purple snake-like markings that fade when cooked.

How to prepare: Just like green beans. Trim the ends and eat the whole pods.

Why we love them: Who wouldn’t love beans that are named for a snake and change color when you cook them? They are more tender than your ordinary string beans, and a lot less, well, stringy.

On the subject of seeds...
riahawk said: Are the Rattlesnake Pole beans tasty? The heat we’ve been having murdered all of my plants. Also, where does one come across ground cherries?

(Sorry, don’t know how to answer questions left as comment thingies…)

Rattlesnake Pole beans are a dry bean–I only do dry beans, because I don’t have a lot of space or time and I’m likely to miss the window on green beans, whereas the dry beans keep until we’re ready. Rattlesnakes are great for hot, humid weather, and nearly unkillable. They are a great bean to add to stuff. They’re not super tasty on their own–Rattlesnakes over rice would be sort of bland, something like Mother Stallard is way better–but they rock in chili. I grow them in a chunk of garden that I largely neglect and they scramble up over the deck railing and produce scads of beans, which get dried and thrown into chili in the winter.

For heat and humidity–in North Carolina, a real problem!–Rattlesnake Pole, Mother Stallard, and so far, Trail of Tears (a Cherokee heirloom variety, and incidentally one of the “Ark of Taste” endangered foods, so everybody grow this sucker!) do really really well. (I’m experimenting with “Arkansas Traveler” tomatoes this year–my Brandywines choked and died in the heat. “Sungold” and “Super100″ are good, if you want cherry or grape tomatoes.)

Ground cherries you probably have to grow from seed, and start indoors. They’re a relative of tomatillos, they look identical but small and yellow, and they have an oddly nutty fruit taste that is nothing at all like cherries. They’re pretty easy to grow if you can handle the seed starting parts. They are a native US plant, although there’s a huge South African variety called a “Cape Gooseberry” that is identical but giant.

Hope that helps!


lots of activities are abuzz in boe farm.  

the rattlesnake beans have begun flowering, baby astia zucchinis are forming, mulberries are ripening, chocolate cherry tomatoes (thank you starryowl5!) are growing a foot a day, oregano is partying hard, while the brassicas flower and go to seed.

the air is thick with the fragrance of warm zucchini leaves and oregano.

i am grateful.

© desixlb 2014