August 28th, 2006
Cannellini Beans

Phasoleus vulgaris Cannelino. 85 days. Many Italians believe Cannellini is the best dry bean on Earth, and it is widely available both dried and canned in Italian markets. Rich and meaty, these white kidney beans are the authentic bean for minestrone soup made famous in the Tuscany region of Italy. This 24-26 inch tall bush-type bears 6-7 inch pods and is one of the earlier maturing cannellini beans available. Seeds per ounce: 100. Territorial Seed Company

An old gardening proverb tells us to plant beans when you can sit on the ground with your bare bum. The idea was that if the ground was too cold and damp to sit on comfortably, then it was still too cold and damp to plant beans. They’d rot.

Is there some corollary for planting fall gardens in 100 degree weather? After all the Navajo and Hopi of the American southwest grew beans and corn in drier, hotter climes than Austin.

Reading Dirt posted a great entry, Superfoods! Article 2: Beans last week which reminded me that I had some cannellini beans left from a failed spring planting. AJM makes exquisite refried white beans which we put in breakfast tacos. Every spring I’ve tried to grow cannellini beans I end up with less beans than I planted.

The instructions say, “For uniform, rapid emergence been seed should be planted in warm soils.” Unfortunately (now I read this) it continues “…above 95F germination is very poor.” Luckily, I still have seed left. If this batch fails, I’ll try again in another month. If we don’t have an early freeze, that might give me the 85 days I need for them to mature.

I guess I’ll reread Elizabeth Berry’s Great Bean Book and dream of beans.


Zanthan Gardens History

Prepared a bed in the vegetable garden in a spot that has been fallow a year. Dug in four inches of sifted compost. Dug out the largest clay clods. Tree roots get into this section of the vegetable garden and despite years of organic amendments, the ground is mostly hard clay. Gave the bed a good soaking. Also watered in some Medina Soil Activator. If any soil need activating, this does. You know people cover the soil with plastic sheeting to bake out weeds and disease organisms? Well, the drought does the same thing–no plastic required. The ground is dead.

The reworked bed is raised, about a spadeful deep, rich and crumbly.

Planted Cannellini beans. Planted 60 presoaked (4 rows of 15) and 60 unsoaked (3 rows of 20).

by M Sinclair Stevens

3 Responses to post “Cannellini Beans”

  1. From Annie in Austin:

    We had some rain today, and hope you did, too. The Medina soil activator has seemed to make a difference at both of our Austin addresses. Sometimes I go nuts and upgrade to John D’s TerraTonic, which has a Medina base. Good luck with the fall crop!

    My son likes to make pasta fazole, but buying canned cannellini beans turns it into a gourmet meal rather than peasant fare; maybe we’ll plant our own cannellini beans next year. [Being a gardener is like being a Cub Fan – you’re always living for “Next Year”.]

    Yes, rain! I was going to email everyone and ask. Just a little…I scratched the ground and it had soaked in a 1/32 of an inch. The cooler temperatures feel great and I opened the windows to let the fresh air in. — mss

  2. From r sorrell (Austin):

    Have you started planting or transplanting yet? (Besides the beans, I mean.) I’m trying to wait until the average temperature is BELOW 90, but I’m afraid that I’ll miss the window. I’m not sure if I should start on the fall gardening, and risk losing the plants to our prolonged summer, or plant things late.

    This is always my question, too, and I’m usually too late to get in a good fall vegetable garden. The trouble with Austin’s weather is that it can be 90 one day and 30 the next. It’s hard to know when to start. It’s great to have the three of you to compare strategies with.

    I think I will chance some tomatoes this weekend if I can find any left for sale. I’m several weeks late dividing my irises. My garden is so devastated that I’m going to tear out whole beds and start over. As for larger things like rose shrubs and trees, I don’t plant those out until October, November, and December. — mss

  3. From Hanna in Cleveland:

    I just harvested the first of my beans today. Dragon Tongue Wax Beans. Don’t know anything about them other than they were on the shelf at Target early in the spring when I was chomping at the bit for warm weather. 🙂