Beans – Marion Johnston

An Outline of the Bean Presentation

Marion Johnston, a master gardener, presented to the club about beans. The PDF above is an outline of the presentation. After establishing her credentials as a serious bean gardener, and the credentials of beans as serious food, she gave a a broad stroke summary of her own successful low-environmental-impact gardening techniques here in Prescott. This included some jackhammering of the soil and building of raised beds. Bugs and other critters are discouraged by generous plantings of garlic and marigolds.

She intoduced us to the Native American three sisters – corn, beans and squash. “Plant the beans, three to a corn stalk, when the corn is as tall as a squirrel’s ear.” Then, a week or so later plant the squash to shade the soil around the corn and beans. The various plants, in close proximity have synergistic qualities. The beans add nitrogen to the soil and they use the cornstalks as poles to climb. The squash heavily shade the soil. This inhibits weeds, preserves soil moisture, and moderates soil temperature. Tomatoes and potatoes, she pointed out, can be grown in containers, provided they get really a lot of extra irrigation. Not so, beans: a pot’s too hot.

Serious bean aficianados should definitely check out her three links to bean seed specialists: Cool Beans, Heirloom Beans, and Supper at Rancho Gordo. And don’t forget to check out Marcus Samuelson’s black-eyed pea recipe. It features Ethiopian flavors which are bound to appeal to anyone who likes Indian cooking.

Bean-Related Resources Online