They say that in spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. But I know that in spring, this 40-year-old’s heart turns to thoughts of fancy seeds.
Because of the short-sleeve weather we had a couple of weeks ago, I did two things: look for the crocuses under accumulated leaves and pull out the seed catalogs. I drool over those glossy pages that boast thirty-seven kinds of pumpkins and exotic fruits and vegetables I don’t even know how to eat.
I’m not the only one in my house excited over ordering seeds for our garden. Well before I even laid hands on the catalogs, one son had highlighted all of his favorites. One evening I sat rocking the baby while my husband read to me all about vegetable varieties with names like ‘King of the Garden,’ ‘Bull’s Blood,’ and ‘Ukrainian Beauty’.
As we talked I stressed the importance of not adding to our garden. Last year we had a large garden, and it was a lot of work. In addition to seeds we’d saved from the previous year for pumpkins, zucchini, popcorn, and watermelon, we also planted several others including five varieties of beans.
Yes, you read it right. Five kinds of beans! Some were pole beans, some were bush beans, and some were even purple. Some of the seeds we had left over or given to us, but the other three we found in those slickly-worded catalogs that we couldn’t resist.
Yes, this year we were determined not to repeat our mistakes. Who needs that many beans?
Unfortunately, our online shopping cart filled up more quickly than we expected. We allowed the children to help decide, and this year one chose to experiment with ground cherries. Another wanted some pumpkins larger than the ones we’ve
been growing. We ordered some of our other garden staples--lettuce, radishes and such.
And lastly, the beans. We did narrow it down, but only slightly. I chose a bird egg bean that I loved as a child. One of the children wanted to try wax beans. We all liked the purple green beans from last year. And then my husband couldn’t help adding one pole bean variety called ‘Lazy Wife’.
While the weather and the bugs certainly have a say in how the garden grows, I’m fairly certain of one thing. While this lazy wife’s thoughts might be turned to seeds in March, come late July, I’ll likely be up to my elbows in beans.
Easter’s coming up, and many folks enjoy ham for their holiday dinner. Unlike turkey, ham’s easy to use up in
leftovers. If you’re looking for a simple way to use up some ham (or the ham bone), this is my all-time favorite bean recipe-- soup beans. Growing up, I loved when Mom served these up with bread, butter, and strawberry freezer jam.
Mom’s Soup Beans
1 lb. bag of navy beans
1 onion, chopped
leftover ham or ham bone
Sort through and rinse beans well. Add beans to a large pot and add water to cover by about 2 inches. Add onion and ham. Cover beans and simmer for several hours until beans are tender. This can also be cooked in a slow-cooker on low for about 4-6 hours. Usually the ham provides enough seasoning and salt, but taste before serving and add salt if necessary.