A View from a Volunteer Grower

Mike McDonald, Como Park District 10 Environmental Committee member and Capitol Region Watershed District board member, became a Como Community Seed Library  Seed Champion volunteer grower this last season. Both Mike and his wife Ruth have been deeply involved in sustainable living and championing environmental and social justice in the Como Park neighborhood for decades. Their gardens are a beautiful combination of native plantings, water conservation, and edibles. Here is Mikes account of growing out Arikara beans to reinvigorate them, make them locally adapted, and to return them to CCSL for checkout. If you are interested in participating  as a Seed Champion Volunteer Grower for next season email comoseedsavers@gmail.com for further details and varieties available. Como Community Seed Library is deeply grateful to Mike and Ruth for sharing their time, gardening knowledge and garden space this season and moving the library’s mission to be self-sustaining one more seed into the future. Thank you!!!!
We grew some Arikara Yellow Beans for the seed library this year.  They are a yellow-tan dry bean.  They are supposed to mature in 80 to 90 days.
We planted all of the seeds in the packet we were given and they have done great.  They germinated well and pretty quickly.  They have been very healthy.  They overgrew the carrots we planted next to them and we have to stake them up to stop overshadowing the carrots.
We did not water them anymore than the rest of the garden and they were ok with that.  About 3 weeks ago, we looked at them closely and noticed the bean pods had turned white and were dry.  I talked with Dawn about this and she said that this is normal for dry beans and unless we see signs of fungus on the plants we should just let them continue to dry on the plant.  That is what we have been doing.  They still look good but the pods are not really dry yet, so we will let them continue to dry on the plant in the garden.
I am curious about the taste of the beans and will keep some for us to try after we have provided a good batch back to the seed library.
They have been easy to grow, with little issues or problems.  If they taste good, I will consider growing them again next season.
Mike MacDonald


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