The Bean House Club
Several weeks ago, I overheard the kids talking about what kind of rules they should make for something called "The Bean House Club." I'm not sure what they decided on, or how often they played there, but here are some photos of the bean house in high summer:
As you can see, the pole beans (mostly Cherokee Trail of Tears, but also some Kentucky Wonder) had no trouble creating the shady bower we imagined when we put up the PVC frames back in June. You can also see that the pumpkins and squash planted around the outside of the bean house more than filled in their allotted space as well. In fact, we had a few pumpkin vines start climbing the bean house frame.
The photo above is a side view. The doorway is to the left — imagine the entrance to an igloo, and that's kind of the shape. There is also ferny, floppy asparagus to the left, and this turned out to be a very jungle-like quadrant this year. I think you had to be a member of the club to know just how to navigate those vine-filled paths to get into the bean house.
But once you were inside, the shade was lovely:
This view above is from inside the bean house, looking through the doorway to the asparagus and the swingset.
When you look up, it's just beans and sky. If you look very carefully, you can see in the photo above that these vines were just flowering. I took this picture about a month ago, but a couple weeks ago we had beans hanging from the rafters:
The beauty of this design is that, for the most part, the beans hang down from the supports, and usually below the leaves, so they are very easy to find and pick. Also, you get to do most of the harvesting in the shade, which makes a pretty tedious task much more pleasant, especially in August.
The bean house is ephemeral, though. Just about a month after the vines reached up far enough to complete the roof, the leaves have yellowed and died back as we have harvested our beans:
Such is the life cycle of the bean house.