Skinflint Sunday: Beans and reviving the Independence Days Challenge.


I read this post from a blog I’ve been reading for years. I’m feeling pretty envious; I love beans too and by the sounds of things she’s knee deep in the things. I was late sowing mine, due to the new model coming out and so mine are just starting to produce.

This variety is a purple striped bean given to me by a friend at work. They rattled around in the bottom of my handbag for weeks, especially after the envelope they were in broke. I think it was after reading some gardening blogs that I upended the bag, fished them out and planted them. I’m pretty happy with the initial look of them – hoping for a big yield.


Unlike these beans… honestly, what a waste of time and effort they are! I heard about Scarlet Runner beans and thought they sounded fantastic – you plant them and then they keep on coming back year after year. They have beautiful red flowers and they feed you. What more could you ask for?
Some damned beans…. that’s what.
This is the third year I’ve been growing them.
The first year I could understand them not producing. Long time readers may dimly remember the trouble with a hideously unbalanced ph in the compost mix I bought for the wicking beds when they first went in. All the plants nearly died and it was all a bit of a drama.
Still… it’s been two years since then and I think it’s time for them to get their act into gear. They grow like crazy, have masses of flowers and then all these plants produce… 2 beans. TWO!!!! And that was at the beginning of summer, so of course I ate them thinking that they’d be the first of many.
Anyone have any ideas as to what might be going wrong? These plants are seriously on borrowed time now, as a 3 metre long bed is too much space to waste on a food plant that doesn’t give us any food.


These are some adzuki beans I was soaking yesterday and are cooking on the stove even as we speak. I’ve had the packet for a year or so and it was just sitting there in the pantry as a monument to the noble ideals I had when I bought them. Ideals of introducing more plant-based protein into our lives; saving money by using the dried beans rather than tinned; being happy and healthy…. you know, the usual things you feel when you buy these products. These beans aren’t the only things still sitting in my pantry unopened – 5kgs of green split peas, anyone? So things must change!
A few days ago I cooked some dried chickpeas that had been in my Thermomix demo drawer for well over a year. We used to do a dish that required making chickpea flour out of the dried peas, but then they changed the demo on me and these things were just sitting there. I cooked them up, bagged them and froze them.
So far we’ve made hummus and the nicest falafel burgers I’ve ever made with them. (Non- thermomix recipe, too, for all of you who’d like to play along at home.) It was so quick and easy to pull the bags from the freezer and the cost is so much cheaper as opposed to using a tin.

I was having a quick flick through a book I bought a few years ago. In it, Sharon Astyk has an Independence Days challenge that I used to follow. Every week, you must try to:
1. Plant something.
2. Harvest something.
3. Preserve something.
4. Waste not.
5. Want not.
6. Cook something new.
7. Manage your reserves.
8. Work on local food systems.

I like the idea of doing this; I only stopped because I got into the thermomix business and got really busy. Well, three years later I’d like to start doing it again. Clearly I’m not going to get less busy so I might as well bite the bullet and get myself organised. It ties in with the Theory of Anyway, which I quite like.
So let’s see how it goes, shall we? Sunday to Saturday each week… how will I go on the Independence Days challenge?

Thermomix recipe: My husband’s Bachelor Baked Beans. Well, clearly it’s not MY husband’s recipe… that mythical being akin to a unicorn, dragon or vampire…. Still, this recipe sounds delicious and, judging by the comments, is very versatile. Plus it uses beans.

This entry was posted in balance, gardening, Independence Days challenge, Quality of life, Skinflint, vegetables, wicking beds. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Skinflint Sunday: Beans and reviving the Independence Days Challenge.

  1. Urspo says:

    when I was a gardener (oh but i miss such!) beans were always the humblest but satisfying crop for me. Toms were exciting but beans were soothing.

  2. jan2132 says:

    I know Melbourne can have cold winters but it’s too hot there overall for Scarlet Runners. They are a cool climate bean and do well in Blue Mountains in NSW. Dad came from Lithgow where they light the fire in March and it stays lit till November. He then grew them mid-mountains.They grow successfully there. Sydney may have pockets where they do well but It is mostly too hot here. Pull them out and grow something to fit with climate. Purple King etc.

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