Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grow100 2015 Update

Checking in with a couple Grow100 participants!

The Montgomery County Derwood Demo Garden has been experimenting with fava beans. The variety they are using is "Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto" from Baker Creek Seeds.

Joslyn Read's report on the Fava Bean:


I accepted a challenge to research and prepare a few of the fava beans that are starting to produce in the 100-square foot garden. So many of us had heard they were a hassle to prepare, and we thought it useful to check out the facts.
First I shelled the beans out of the velvety pods (I brought home only about 15 pods for this trial, but the articles I’ve read recommend picking/buying about 1 pound of pods to make enough beans for one person). It is really worth leaving the pods on the plant as long as possible, because the smaller pods had beans in them that were the size of my pinky fingernail.
I parboiled the beans for about 5 to 8 minutes, then I cooled them. I easily popped the largest beans out of their waxy outer covering, and they were very tender and tasty. The smallest beans I ate without taking off the outer covering and they were fantastic. I am also attaching a photo of the resulting beans and one bean covering. The resulting beans have a lovely sweet pea taste and consistency. They are also reported to be highly nutritious. I've also learned that the bean is not just a "Mediterranean" favorite, but is also a cherished Asian and Latin American vegetable used in stir fries and stews.

Derwood's fava beans

 David Marcovitz checked in and described some difficulties his garden has seen this season.
The deer ate the leaves off 4 of my 6 zucchini plants, just as they were starting to get some good zucchini. Something has been eating my cucumbers, and something has gotten into my tomatoes even with deer protection. I even found some huge caterpillars eating the parsley on my deck. My biggest success was broccoli, but even with that I had a hard time with cabbage worms.

On good notes, I tried some carrots from seed this year, and they seem to be growing nicely. I also tried pole beans from seed, and what hasn't been eaten by pests has started climbing the poles. I did get several broccoli, cukes, and zucchini, and hope to get some beans and carrots. 

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