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October 24, 2012

Rockwell dry beans

I like the idea of  growing as much of my own food as I can. For the most part, I do grow all of our fruits and vegetables. I do buy some things, like oranges and pomegranates, that are pretty hard to grow here (though I do have some pomegranate bushes and I tried some hardy citrus, but, they died). I sometimes run out of other things, like onions, so I buy more in the winter. And then there are things, like grains and beans, that are a bit harder, but certainly possible to grow. You need a bit more space, and harvesting and processing are more tedious on a hand scale, but I still think it’s fun to try.

The past few years, I have been experimenting with some of these other crops and some of my results have not been too bad. The last three or four weeks, Jonas and I have been harvesting my experimental crops. Some might even make the list next week.


I have had a patch of cranberries for some time now. Though cranberries like a lot of water, you don’t actually need a bog to grow them. It just means you have to harvest them by hand. Jonas and I finished up the cranberry harvest yesterday. Since I don’t have a lot, I don’t grade them, but keep all the variations, dark red to white (depending on how much sun they see), big and small. This year I think I’ll have about ten pounds.


Painted Mountain Flour corn

This is the first year I have tried this corn, meant for milling into flour, or decoration. I have wanted to try grains for some time. I thought corn would be the easiest in terms of harvesting and processing by hand. I will try to grind some and see how it turns out.

Painted Mountain Flour corn

Rockwell beans

This is the second year I have grown this dry bean and it did well this year. I like the story: brought to Whidbey Island, Washington, in the late 1800’s, by Elisha Rockwell. It has been grown there, by the locals, ever since and is just getting out into the public market the last few years. It grows well in our climate and it tastes good, too. (Pictured at the top)

Black Turtle beans

I have tried a few other dry beans, but this year I wanted to try a black bean. I got these in the ground a bit late, and they need a longer growing season than I gave them, so they did not all mature as fully as I had hoped. They are drying out right now, and then I’ll see how they did. This is one I’ll have to try again, getting them into the ground sooner next time.

Black Turtle dry beans

4 Comments leave one →
  1. beth parker permalink
    October 24, 2012 4:30 pm

    Good for you to give these great looking things a try. And, good for us who get to try them too.

  2. Mary Ellen permalink
    October 25, 2012 3:51 pm

    Awesome Michelle! Your pictures are so clear and wonderful. Do you use a special camera?

    • jcgarden permalink
      October 31, 2012 10:42 am

      Thanks, Mary Ellen! We have a 10 or so year old digital camera that I use for the pictures. Last winter, I discovered that it has some settings for special situations, like night photos or sunsets, etc. One of them is a close-up setting, that I have used a lot this year. I used it on the bean and cranberry pictures.

  3. October 28, 2012 3:08 pm

    Hi- Shari Sirkin here with Dancing Roots Farm. I’m trying to get a hold of you regarding PACSAC business. Can you please call or email me? or 503.695.3445. Thanks!

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