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Yes, no, maybe so

What's the best use of garden space? I have lots of yard, but the plowed garden is limited. Now that the growing season is ending, it's time to make some decisions for next year. Under the Reaping and Eating categories of the blog, I give you (drumroll):

The only perfect red pepper I was able to grow this year.
I'm saving the seeds from this baby! The flesh was just the right thickness, the flavor was sweet and I managed to pick it before any bugs, worms, slugs or critters got to it. I used it in a stir-fry for dinner last night (along with the homegrown celery to the right of the pepper).

The entire cranberry bean harvest fits in a one-pint jar.
This photo represents a 25-foot row of cranberry bean plants. To be fair, I lost some of the plants to bean rust, but still. I can buy a one-pound bag of dried cranberry beans for $1.39. I think I paid $2.29 for the seeds. I won't be doing this again.

A dried black-eyed pea pod.
I soaked a few (20, maybe) black-eyed peas in a wet paper towel one night, and threw them in a short (10 feet, maybe) row just to see what would happen. This is a very cool-looking plant, and each pod yields several beans, sometimes as many as 10 per pod.

Several pods' worth of dried black-eyed peas.
I have half a bucket of dried pods left to shell, which is a pleasant and mindless task sitting at the picnic table in our pine grove. I probably will plant these again, because I think it's my good fortune to grow my own black-eyed peas for New Years' Day Hoppin' John.

There are, of course, lots of decisions left to make about next year's crops. It's helpful to start the list when you're still working in the garden. Once the snow flies, it's easy to be tempted by those pretty pictures in the catalogs. You know … the cranberry bean ones.


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