Green Beans

Caution:  Green. Jurassic Green.   And A lot of cussin’ in this post.  A lot.

Autumn.  You guys.  Autumn.  Such a pain in the ass.

I mean, let’s take the humble green bean, shall we?  I grow pole beans because I like the triple-duty-beauty of the vine (clean growing, pretty, and vertical space).  And  Ever. Damb. Season., I do the same damb thing – plant them –  and promptly forget how green beans act.  So, late April/early May I stick a bean in the ground, every 6-8″ and figure I’ll see them when I see them.  At some point, they start to grow and I’m happy to see them – but I don’t give them a lot of thought.  Because I am not even that crazy about green beans.  I mean, I like them well enough – they’re a key component in this fabbo Nicoise-ish salad I used to get at the Allerton Hotel (poached chicken breast, green beans and a mustard vinaigrette over buttercrunch lettuce – what’s not to like, right?) – and the vines are pretty and green and charming.  …..except…. Did I mention that I plant a bean EVERY 6-8″?

Do y’all know how many damb beans that is?

The funny part is, I also always forget when beans actually fruit.  So, sometime in late June I am in despair, thinking I have dud green bean plants.  ALL THAT FOLIAGE!  and not one stinkin’ bean.  In late June.  Because …I dunno…I’m a bonehead?  A beanhead?  Who knows.

Anyway, this year was no different.  ‘OMG!  I haz NO green beans.  They are duds.  waaah!’  – and then, about a week later, I have blossoms.  “OMG!  I have all these blossoms (but no beans)!  They’ll never fruit up in time!”  ad freakin’ nauseum….   40 years of gardening and I never get the green bean schedule quite right.

But the Green Beans?  They Know.  In short order? Boom!  3,457 green beans.  All at once. And then?  3,457 more.

This year?  They weren’t even the good green beans.  Noooo.  They were (gasp!) STRING Beans.  How the hell did I end up planting STRING beans?  Where did I even get them?  All that stringing!  And Floyd help you if you miss one – ew!  So, after the first harvest of 300 or so beans, I kinda gave up and figured I would rip down the vines in all their dessicated glory, come November.

Yeah.  No. A Sudden Freeze.  And lemmetellya.  Dessication?  Not happening.  Instead, I have 4,976 feet of unbelievably strong, cellular restructured vines, with flash-frozen, bleached beans (that The Girl is delighting in ripping off the vines and eating – yet another OMG – do you have ANY idea of how green bean dog farts smell?  Especially 130# farts when that dog has eaten  3 lbs of frost-blasted beans?  omg.)  Those vines are so strong that when I fell into a depression and reached out to grab something to save myself – I grabbed a hanging green bean vine.  And do you know that thing saved my fat butt?  Realz.  It never even blinked, just stood strong as I hauled myself back upright, I had to take loppers to cut those dawgs off the fence, since trying to rip them down simply resulted in me breaking a picket!  Really?  Green beans?  Y’all hate me that much?

Three days of mean, cold, vicious vines.  Three days of dog farts.  Three days of hating the HELLZ outta me some green beans.  I’m convinced that these beans mutated from whatever other horrors evolved in this kitchen garden – it’s time to tear the whole thing apart with a controlled burn, followed by a boiling water weed killer.  Desperate measures.  But take a look at it – it’s a mess!


I’m actually looking forward to starting anew with this kitchen garden – there’s been an invasion of foxtail, Floyd knows what those terrifying vines are on the sundial wall and I’m convinced there are snakes in that grass (which would be great, except if there are they are not eating the ground squirrels and, so, they’ve gotta go.  If they’re there.  But they’re probably not because ground squirrels are still there and ground squirrels are stupid – but they’re not that stupid.)

But first, The Green Beans.  I have to kill everything with fire and boiling water so I can get back to my original loves – the Emerite pole bean.  Sooo, sooo sweet and tasty and completely string-free!  I harvested some beans from my last crop but…I dunno…some Jurassic Bean must’ve inserted its DNA.  So.  Fire.  Boiling Water.

And next year: a whole new crop. – nobody else.

So.  I’ve got another day of rippage and then I think I’m kind of ready for Stage 2.  And you’re probably wondering ‘okay – that’s nice.  But what does this have to do with perfume?’  well – while I was in the midst of it all I remembered that March said Les Nez The Unicorn Spell had a green bean note in it.  So  I checked the ‘L’ box (and the’U’ box for good measure) to no avail.  Probably just as well because if I’d found it I’d probably have punched it in the face.  Because I am SO over the smell of green beans.  But!  I was going to do a draw for it!  Oh, well.  I’ll do a draw of stuff from the ‘L’ box (and beyond) – how’s that?   Hang tight, darlings – it’s almost over (the whole garden thing) for another year.

In the meantime – here are the winners from ‘See What had happened was’


Rose Macaroon



gmail me (evilauntieanita) and I’ll get some fun out to you asap!






  • Ann says:

    Oh, mercy, honey!! I was falling outta my chair at your hijinks! But seriously, I do feel for all the anguish you’ve had to deal with in the green bean wars — bless your heart! We had some friends a year or two ago with massive tonnage of zucchini and they were throwing that stuff at friends, family, people passing by in their cars, anyone they saw 🙂 Maybe you should get a tattoo on your hand of several green beans with a big red/slash circle on it, so next year you’ll be spared from this insanity, ha!!

  • Jennifer S says:

    Lolz at your story and what can anyone ever do with that many green beans cept give em away?! Me thinks the freeze was a blessing in disguise! Well…good luck in getting your area cleaned up and those beans away from them dogs. Lol!

  • hczerwiec says:

    I’m so sorry for your pain, but I am DYING over here at your descriptions! And those dog farts — ZOMG! Rub some Mitsouko under your nose, and carry on. I’m so excited you drew my name — emailing you now!

  • Kate E. says:

    My worst battle in a garden was with bamboo. It was a rental home so I couldn’t do anything but try to maintain the stuff. If I went away for a long weekend I would come home to new stalks of bamboo sprouting up all throughout the grass. I had to mow every couple of days to keep it down in the lawn. The bamboo won–I moved. Good luck getting those beans out.

  • Dina C. says:

    I completely agree with March on The Unicorn Spell smelling like canned green beans. I bought a wee sample once, and I couldn’t believe that something with that beautiful name could smell so weird and wrong. Those tough green bean vines sound horrid. I’ve got invasive grape vines from my next door neighbor’s yard from many years ago that bother me along with morning glory vines, too. I need to get out in my backyard and rip, rip, rip it all down while wearing gloves. It’s a killer. I totally sympathize! You need to take a nice hot shower and then use those luxurious Amouage products!

    • Musette says:

      LOL! you KNOW it! I’m parsing out the Aleve because I’m not one for a lot of NSAIDs – but, depending upon how much/how long, I’m doing the hot shower/Aleve duo, nightly. Lately, it’s been Lyric or Jub25 body crème – so perfect for an apres-slog!


  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Hah! We’ve had the green bean invasion, some years. Then we switched to nice lil’ bush beans like the yellow “wax” bean. Husband planted lots of pinto beans, black beans and scarlet runners (now *those* are beautiful beans, and the red-flowered vines attract hummingbirds)–all for drying. Easy to grow, leave ’em on the vines until the pods are brown. Let me know if you would like me to send you some for seed for next year! XOXOX (I still love Haricots Verts, so I suppose we’ll always plant them.)

    • Musette says:

      LOL! not only are you kind – you are EEEEEVILLLL! 😉 I haz ALL those beans – in their little packets. What I DON’T have is a currently workable space. Hence, the burn-and-rework. I’m definitely going to grow SRBs in that reworked garden, for the birds.

      Sadly, for all my ‘beaning’, El O tends to (gasp!) NOT LIKE DRIED BEANS. It took me quite awhile (17 of the 18 years we’ve been together) to comprehend that – so now I grow only what works for the birds.

      Life is weird, innit?


  • Kathryn says:

    Having pitched way more beans into the compost bin than I actually ate this summer, I read your post with a rueful smile of recognition. However, I’ve got no complaints about my arbor of scarlet runner beans. The blossoms are gorgeous, especially the red and white bicolor ones, and hummingbirds adore them. The wide, rough textured beans taste especially good if you slow cook them in the old-fashioned way with a ham hock or with tomatoes and garlic. And if you don’t get around to picking them all when they’re green they form big, dry yellow pods filled with the most amazing dried beans, wine red marbled with black. You can eat the dried beans, too, but they’re so pretty I’d almost rather keep them to look at in a clear glass jar.

    As for The Unicorn Spell, no beans show up on my skin. Just violets and forest floor. Obviously, YMMMV, but for me it’s in the same grouping as CB I Hate Perfume’s Wild Hunt, cool dark woods.

    • Queen Cupcake says:

      Kathryn, I posted below before I really read your post–I concur about the scarlet runners! They are gorgeous and so worth the effort. I have never used them green, but next year I will try them slow cooked the way you mentioned.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! There is NOTHING more beautiful than a scarlet runner bean, is there? Your arbor sounds DIVINE! I’m contemplating an arbor from the end of the long border (the back corner of the house) and I think SRB would look stunning on it (and would be way easier to manage than the William Baffin rose I was contemplating moving over to trail that arbor! so thanks for the idea!!!) xoxoxo

  • Tara C says:

    Not crazy about green beans, but my grandmother grew yellow wax beans and omg did she make awesome mustard bean pickles. Yum!

  • Maya says:

    You got me confused. We (in CT) always called green beans string beans and vice versa – different names for the same bean. I always thought they were the same thing.

    The funny part of your post was that when I read the heading I immediately thought you were talking about The Unicorn Spell Les Nez. I tried it years ago. The write-up for it was/is lovely and i was excited to try it. It smelled of green beans and ONLY green beans, nothing but green beans, green beans, green beans……….Couldn’t resist teasing you with – green beans. 🙂 😉 It’s true about the perfume though.

    • Musette says:

      Maya, they probably are the same thing and largely interchangeable – my mother (and I, to be honest) would call them string beans even today! Back in my ‘yout’ I strung many a bean – and woe betide me if there were strings still left on – so now I grow only ‘stringless’ beans, such as Emerite. Which is why I am SO pissed off to have gotten a whackload of stringed beans! xoxoxo

      and LOL! about TUS! I would’ve thrown that bottle through a window!

  • Libby says:

    And thank you for the draw!

  • Libby says:

    Oh dear , r used to do that with cherry tomatoes, and I would forget to pick them for salad until they were older and the skins were tough…. Oh well, this summer we didn’t water so no tomatoes from the one plant we did have!

    • Musette says:

      Libby! So sorry about the tomatoes! I water like a fiend until fruit sets, then I generally leave them, since depriving them of water (assuming there’s at least one decent rainfall and they’re in the ground or a HUGE pot) concentrates the flavor! Towards the end of the season our Sun Sugars start to split – and The Girl delights in pulling those split ones off the vines and scarfing them down! xoxoxo

  • rosarita says:

    Oh Ms A, you and your garden make me laugh, it brings back so many memories of my childhood…and all the gardens that have existed since.
    I like fresh green beans but I’m not crazy about them. One batch with butter, salt and pepper. Then another batch roasted with new potatoes and bacon (omg SO good) and that’s about it. I do love to sit under my big maple tree in July and snap green beans – makes me feel a connection to my mom and grandma without the knowledge that I had as a kid, that I’d be picking and cleaning these things the whole blasted summer for canning, freezing and pickling. I thought no one else pickled green beans until I went to New Orleans with my husband for the first time. There were pickled green beans in every Bloody Mary I had, those fabulous ones that you get at the gazebo in Jackson Square that have a gosh darn salad in every cup. Gave me a whole new appreciation for pickled green beans…at last, a purpose I could really get behind!

    • Musette says:

      A, baby! I laugh at my own self! I wake up at 3a with allllll these ideas of how to further mess with this outdoor space – and I have to laugh. Because it’s effin’ THREE A.M.!!!

      Pickled green beans sound amazing! I could pickle some – next year (she says)


  • Musette says:

    omg. squash. So. Many. Squash. I wish squash would turn into diamonds! 😉 xoxo

  • Tena says:

    I am deliberately not going to tell you that I am giggling over The Invasion of the String Beans.
    I do feel for you in the dog fart category though – my 2 greys can strip paint without beans.

    Good luck in your destruction.

    • Musette says:

      Tena – this is such a rookie mistake. And it’s a rookie mistake I make every. damb. year. There must be some disconnect in my synapses!xoxo

  • Ellen says:

    The story of your love/hate relationship with green beans reminds me of the summer we planted yellow squash. Harvest time came and we had yellow squash everywhere. We took boxes to work and said,”free.” OMG we just prayed someone would take some of it off our hands. Good luck with the green beans. We froze ours. Doesn’t work too well with yellow squash unfortunately.