GROWING BEANS, PART 2: Beans benefit from soil that has been mixed with a bit of compost. After planting, mulch the ground surface to preserve soil moisture and deter weeds. Be sure that the plants get about an inch of water per week. Water the soil, not the plants. To ensure a long harvest season for bush beans, plant new seeds every two weeks.

The developing plant will get needed nitrogen at first from the compost, but as its root system matures it works with soil microbes and actually takes nitrogen from the air that is in the soil to make it available for absorption by its roots. To ensure that the plant initially has sufficient microbes near the roots, sprinkle just a bit of legume inoculant (rhizobia bacteria) next to the seed when planting. The nitrogen that the bean fixes into the soil is enough to feed the bean plant through the season.

In as soon as 50 days (based on the cultivar), the harvest will begin! Pick the beans when they are young and tender. This is when the pods contain immature seeds and are still succulent. Bush beans will produce most of their crop over a two-week period. Pole beans will keep producing until the fall frost, as long as the vine keeps growing and you keep harvesting the beans. Enjoy them steamed, sautéed, roasted, or even raw. Snap beans are my very favorite garden vegetable. Give them a try!

FLYING SAUCER: It was this day more than eight decades ago that one newspaper’s report of flying saucer started a mythology that still exists today.

In writing about the anniversary, the Associated Press states: “In 1947, a New Mexico newspaper, the Roswell Daily Record, quoted officials at Roswell Army Air Field as saying they had recovered a ‘flying saucer’ that crashed onto a ranch; officials then said it was actually a weather balloon. (To this day, there are those who believe what fell to Earth was an alien spaceship carrying extra-terrestrial beings.)”