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Our Kitchen Garden: The Magic of Beans and Curlicue Tendrils

We know the story of Jack and his famous beanstalk of the sky. But have you gotten on your belly to be eye-level with the curling tendrils of cucumbers and melons? Or watch bean stalks grow inches each hour? It’ll drop your jaw faster than you can finish an episode of Planet Earth.

The garden’s magic is in high gear this week. Our “volunteer” pole beans (last year’s Cherokee Trail of Tears that resowed with no help from us) have hit the top of the bamboo teepee, curling and wrapping strong stalks that will soon support loads of fresh green beans and exotic yard-long asparagus beans. Our cucumber vines are taking off, sending out these investigative “fingers” that are at first stick-straight and seem to gauge the sun and wind. They appear alive and to have a thoughtful plan in place, leaning in towards the fence and spiraling that wondrous curlicue of support, pulling the heavy plant up towards the sun. It’s simply wicked. There are even reports from scientists that pea tendrils can react to harmful UV-B rays of the sun and be the telltale signs of a need for more sunscreen. How’s that for a magical plant? This garden has us wrapped around its little finger.

Enjoy these photos from the week’s harvest, including a squash blossom pizza with Golden Nugget tomatoes, garlic scapes, chive blossom, pesto and goat cheese. What’s cooking in your kitchen garden?

Pole beans race to the top of the teepee in our Cooking Light kitchen garden.

Cucumber curlicues look dainty but are strong support for these heavily-fruiting vines.

Our first zucchini harvest of unique varieties and blossoms, soon to be atop a pizza and frittata.