My front bed is turning Japanese. And French

15 Nov

After the winter crops the front veggie bed was looking pretty tired. All the brassicas came out, leaving a random medley of marigolds, parsley, onions and weeds. Normally an ugly veggie bed is just part of the yearly cycle – it can’t be attractive all of the time. But seeing as this bed basically forms my front fence and my street has a reasonable level of foot traffic, I try very hard to keep it presentable.

The onions had gone to seed without forming a bulb, and I was just sick of waiting for them frankly, so on Sunday afternoon I pulled everything out. I replenished the bed with cow manure and dug it over with a garden fork, then I planted out about 2 metres with edamame.

Edamame is a variety of soybean. It has fat, flavoursome pods that are eaten as a vegetable. As you can probably imagine by the name, I first encountered them in Japan, where they are hugely popular. They are typically boiled briefly, then salted and served hot/warm. In Australia you can find them in sushi places in the little plastic sushi boxes. They’ve been cooked and salted the same way, but are typically cold.

Unlike most beans, edamame are quite high in fat. I’m not talking avocado proportions, but if you eat a whole plate of them, then there’s about 14 grams of fat. Combined with the fibre and protein, this makes them a brilliant snack for kids, particularly ones you are trying to fatten up.

Actually, if fattening them up is your goal, then clearly it would be more effective to serve them a mars bar, but personally I like to keep my mars bars for myself 🙂

Edamame is a summer crop, and last year I was bit late with my planting. It started to cool off, and the pods really didn’t have the opportunity to fatten up properly.  This year the timing is perfect and the position is much better – full sun. I’m hoping to get enough of a harvest to freeze significant amounts.

So along the front bed now I have a metre of corn, a metre of capsicums, chilli and eggplant, my 2 metres of Edamame, then the rest of the bed.

Also, an update on my grapevine. I’ve constructed a (very) basic trellice  for it to grow along, but I think I left the pruning and training a bit late. The vine is a flame seedless grape, and I was worried, because I’d read that they fruit in December, and I’m running out of time. Was it possible that I wouldn’t get any fruit this year?

So I went out and examined it closely, and sure enough, there is one cluster of flowers. Right down the bottom, under the canopy. A single bunch of future grapes. I guess I should be happy that the vine only has to put energy into a single bunch, but I was kinda expecting more. Is is possible that the bunches will form progressively, or should they all form at once?

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6 Responses to “My front bed is turning Japanese. And French”

  1. Asydfoodie November 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Hey, are there still flowers with pollen on the grapevine? You might need to encourage things along with a paintbrush and some manual pollination.

    • L November 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

      Oops! I guess I’ll have to check it out in the morning. Didn’t think of that 😦

  2. Frogdancer November 16, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    I’m eying off my front garden too. Next year I have a funny feeling that there’ll be huge changes out there. Seems a shame to waste all that sunlight.

    • L November 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

      That was my motivation too, Frogdancer. And now I’ve lost count of the number of people who have stopped and told me that I’ve inspired them to grow veggies too.

      We live along the main foot traffic path between the free parking areas and a major business park. Hundreds of people walk by each day on the way to work. It gives me so much satisfaction to hear that I’m making a small difference.

  3. Liz November 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Whenever we go out for Japanese I order some Edamame – love them. I’ve never tried to grow them though – I suspect they would like it a bit warmer than our climate though. I will be interested in yours, perhaps I will give them a go next year.

    • L November 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

      I’m really interested to see how fast they develop in the middle of summer. If it’s fast enough, then I think they’d be fine in Melbourne. I planted them too late last year (early January I think), and they even struggled in Sydney.

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