ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms
News and Photos29 May 2010

This summer we decided to grow some herbs in our apartment. Sweet and Thai basil, oregano, parsley, mint, and… beans?

Guess which one isn’t a herb

I chose bean seeds on a lark. I wanted to try to grow a few bean plants, even though beans are not too space-efficient when it comes to indoor gardening. Realistically, the best I can hope for is that my harvest will provide a fresh side-dish for one meal later this summer. People tend to laugh when the see our little bean patch, but I am undaunted.

From past experience we have found it is better to grow the plants entirely indoors, rather than putting them on the balcony periodically where they can be exposed to wind, hungry birds, and punishing afternoon sun. For herbs, this is fine, but urban apartment-dwelling vegetables face certain challenges that their rural cousins don’t have to worry about. I mean that delicate issue which might be metaphorically referred to as “the birds and the bees”, or, in this case, literally referred to as “the bees.” In other words, sex. Vegetables grow from flowers, and flowers require pollination, i.e., the male flowers have to send their magic dust to the female flowers. Outdoor veggies enlist friendly insects to help with this vital transfer, but there are no insects where my beans live.

When flowers started appearing, I realized that I’d have to midwife my little beans into existence. I googled for “manual pollination” and started reading up on how to play floral match-maker. However, it turns out that I needn’t have worried, because indoor beans are randy little creatures capable of pollinating without extra help from q-tips or delicate paint-brushes. All I need to do is stand by and wait.

And lo: the bean patch has produced its first bean.

I’m following “Junior’s” progress with great interest

If that bean is the only one I manage to get, I’ll still be happy with the indoor bean experiment, ridiculous as it may be. Growing things is fun.

2 Responses to “Tilting at Bean Plants”

  1. 30 May 2010 at 11:11 am Jenn

    Keep the updates on this coming, Ian!

  2. 17 Jun 2010 at 8:16 pm judith scrmger

    Hey, Ian. I’m very impressed. I was one of the ones to laugh at your little experiment but sadly my own row of beans has not even been planted despite the garden being tilled weeks ago. You shame me. I will finish the planting tomorrow. (did have two ripe strawberries earlier this week)

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