Saturday, June 16, 2012
Maple Pole Bean Mania
Cobble Hill Ruthie and I were talking bean stakes yesterday as she was having trouble finding suitable ones. Her pole beans are now up! I told her I used fresh cut Maple sapling shoots. They grow all over Lotus Island on the edge of the roadside ditches and are now 8 to 12 feet long! They are perfect for that use and they are free! If one is careful while cutting the shoot at the base so as to not disturb the cambium layer which protects the phloem and xylem, and uses a dibble to make the holes, they will root since they have Force Majeure and you must have planted a node with the germinal root cells well below the surface of the dirt. When the shoots are first selected while in the ditch, this Old One may seem a madman to the vehicular traffic as they whiz by on the road at eye-level. By now the shoots are branching from the nodes so they are trimmed and l leave the trimmings in the ditch. I leave an inch of branch on each sapling for the subsequent purchase of the bean stringers as they grow.The pole beans I use are Blue Lake, for no good reason, but because I always have. These plants are heavy but they have strong positive thigmotropism and could cling to a pig-greased pole, nevertheless it is best to augment with purchase points which will cause them to curl tightly and hang on. A good homemade dibble is an old broom. Drill a big hole 6 inches from the end of the handle and shove in a long bolt of matching size through the hole. Leave the worn out broom on as a lever. Your foot on the bolt plunges the dibble into the dirt and if you use the broom as a lever, you can wiggle your dibble. Stack the shoots around your bean sprouts and bind them together high up like a teepee. There are a lot of pluses to these stakes. As the stake begins to root, the beans begin to climb with considerable celerity. The weight of the beans causes the flexible cane to bend which tightens the bean stringers. The lateral stringers tighten too, so the bean-sapling unit becomes a taut one and therefore stong. The rooting capacity provides a firm foundation from both bean and shoot. The rooted sapling sucks up nitrogen but the bean is a nitrogen fixator and so, pays it forward. Isn't Mother Nature wonderful in its symbiosis? Success in human nature is no different than the bean-stake unit. Strong; flexible; rooted; teamwork; paying forward; bean counting;and self-sustaining. Standing up at your head height, where the air is clear and the sun is bright. As I thought about Ruthie yesterday, I also thought about Jack and his mother and his cow-for-bean enterprise. I have an interest in plant sounds, especially beans. Listen closely with each ear/ Batteries charged so one can hear/ Trill but soft, a little thrum/ Fee and Fie -- Foe and Fum!