Sunday, March 22, 2015

Growing Beans

Weather: Rained Wednesday and Thursday.

What’s blooming in the area: Apricots and a pink flowered tree, forsythia; globe and younger weeping willows, roses and lilacs leafing; flower buds on Bradford pear; alfalfa growing.

Beyond the walls and fences: Siberian elms greening, salt bushes leafing, dandelions up.

What’s come back in my yard: Spirea, fernbush, iris, garlic, tulips, daffodils, oriental poppy, Queen Anne’s lace, alfilerillo, bouncing Bess, coral beardtongue, golden spur columbine, vinca, anthemis, white yarrow, Shasta daisy.

What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums.

Animal sightings: Small birds.

Weekly update: As soon as leaves emerge on beans, they need sun for photosynthesis.

Alexander Stephen doesn’t say how the Hopi kivas managed it for the beans they were growing indoors in 1893 for ritual purposes. Some built above ground had windows, but others did not. Still, plants in kivas with stoves varied from 10" to 14" in height on day eight, when most were only 3" to 5".

Mine were shorter. They may have been sitting in a widow, but the sun only came through a few hours in early February. When we had storms, it never appeared. If I turned the beans, the leaves reoriented themselves to always face the light.

Stephen measured the Hopi plants again on day thirteen when the ones in the stove kiva were 18" high. The next day, my stem was longer, and the third leaves were preparing to open. The bud that had emerged from the stem joint was longer, and more leaf shaped. The first leaves were beginning to wither on the edges.

On day fifteen, the Hopi pulled the plants and boiled them. If they were like mine, they had fully formed second pairs of leaves and the first ones weren’t yet unpalatable.

I didn’t eat my bean plants. I let them continue growing.

When the third leaves appeared, the plants moved from childhood to adolescence. The first and second leaves were pairs, but these were a set of three, with the center one much longer. The fourth set was already forming at the joint. The roots were now brown and reaching the base of the rock-glass sized plastic cup.

A few days later I repotted them into a clear plastic tumbler. For days, the roots stayed snarled at the junction between the old and new soil.

Five days later, on day 28, the stems were so long the ends were thin vines with sparsely spaced, tiny leaves. When the first leaves finally fell, they left scars on the lower stem, which was reddish. Thick roots were reaching into the new soil.

Two weeks later, on day 42, the original leaves began to multiply. That is, new leaf buds were emerging from their joints.

Last Sunday, on day 58, the base of the plant is thick with new triplets of leaves. Tiny pairs of leaves now sit under each leaf joint, mimicking the behavior of the first leaves.

The stems on the two plants that emerged have grown away from each other. The thin stems must have been abandoned since they had grown beyond the reach of the morning sun.

The roots are beginning to pool at the bottom and it’s just possible to see hairs on them.

They probably won’t reach adulthood in the house. I doubt they get enough sun to stimulate the growth of flower buds.

Stephen, Alexander. Notebooks, 1882-1894, edited as Hopi Journal, 1936, by Elsie Clews Parsons.

Photographs: Native Seeds Search, Tucson, Hopi Gray lima bean.
1. 15 March 2015, full plant.

2. Day 14, 2 February 2015, second leaves ready to eat.

3. Day 19, 7 February 2015, third leaves unfurling.

4. Day 28, 16 February 2015, elongated vining stem.

5. Day 28, 16 February 2015, base stem with scars from first leaves.

6. Day 42, 1 March 2015, new leaves emerging from older notes.

7. Day 58, 15 March 2015, roots have grown into ridge in glass, can see hairs.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

A most interesting posting on beans.