Hill of beans - End project during Harvest Fest

'Hill of beans'-carpet

After selecting, sowing, watching the beans grow and harvesting, it was time to reap what I sowed.
Early morning, at 8, I arrived at De Kapeltuin. It was cold, but the Sun was shining. In my corner under the Sweet Chestnut I started preparing myself and the ground. With the spider spinning her web that week in front of my window in mind, I started laying the beans. 
Beans are bigger and therefor you can make a bigger carpet, but because you have to lay each single bean (rice you can sprinkle) it takes more time.
I never worked with just beans, and my plan was to use all seed-saved beans in the carpet. The other beans I used to make jewelry and little packets for dried beans to eat.

Making the carpet, photo by Marlies Hermans

After two hours making my beancarpet was complete. Small, but with every bean used and with an interesting end-form. Somewhere between a spiderweb, sunflower and wind-rose.
In my plot and the rest of De Kapeltuin I made a photo-exhibition. I made little booklets of the transformation of my 'Hill of beans' plot and my (Instagram) beanfies. On my 'bicycle-wheel-on-stake' were pictures of how the bicycle wheel got overgrown by the Runner beans. So between the last ripening pods, the visitors could see the growing of the beans.
In the garden I extended the exhibition I made during the Kunstroute Haagse Beemden. Photos of the history, the oldest from beginning 1900, the most recent from a few weeks before, were placed in the garden where they could be viewed with the same location today in one frame.
These historical pictures together with the pieces of history every visitor got when they took a bean (or packet or earring) from my carpet, told the whole story of De Kapeltuin. The little pieces of history had on one side a date in time with a little information and on the other side information about beans like the beans I used for my project and favorite bean-recipes of Kapeltuin-volunteers.
The bean in this way was not only a bean to sow or eat (or wear), but a bean that hold a part of history of the place were it was harvest, and everyone together, the whole carpet, told the whole story. So in this way you learn more by sharing. Which for me was a key part of the story of De Kapeltuin. A rough grassland in time turned into a community garden by a group of volunteers in which sharing is the main goal. Not only sharing of harvest, but of a place to enjoy, together or alone by everyone in the neighborhood. 

View on my 'Hill of beans' plot, a little booklet showed all the views from Januari

Morning Sun on my bean-carpet

Visitors "shopping" seeds, herbs, beans and jewelry from my plot
Photo by Emile Waagenaar

Overview Kapeltuin
Photo by Emile Waagenaar

Visitor, in the front, looking through one of the booklets
Photo by Emile Waagenaar

Freek's Ground Finds (artifacts dug up in De Kapeltuin)
Photo by Emile Waagenaar

Two talks were scheduled during the day, but I talked all day. 
A lot of interest; people that followed the whole project and a lot of bean-questions
Photo by Peter Eerhart

Freek's Ground Finds (artifacts dug up in De Kapeltuin)
Photo by Emile Waagenaar

Vistors could take beans during the day to sow them next year

* For more about 'Hill of beans' see the previous posts on my site

Hill of beans - Harvest Time

27 August

The Harvest started with a late night sprint to my bean-plot. Me and Freek wondered if my beans were ill, so to stop spreading, I took out the sick looking plants. 
Unfortunately this were all the bean plants in the first row on my plot, the Lekatt beans. This dual fate of the 5 plants is clear if you saw the documentary 'Eeuwig Moes'.* The Lekatt beans are a legacy of Ruurd Walrecht. That of all my beans, these one failed, is a coincidence of a sad synchronicity. 

Jacob Cattle Amish Bean

The bright  yellow leaves were fortunately just the normal discolouration

28 August, basket full of ripe bean pods

The End of August and the rest of September were filled with harvesting beans and herbs, drying the beanpods & herbs and selecting the best dried beans for the carpet. The other beans I used to make jewelry like Holy bean hangers & bean earrings. I harvest also the seeds of the Marigolds and folded a lot of seed-bags using old folders.
This process of harvesting and handling the different things from my plot took a lot of time, but I absolutely loved sitting in the Sun with a basket full of beans and the sound the cracking pods made when you are getting the beautiful beans out. I made a little video of that, you can watch it on my Instagram.

29 August, still very green

Moth on the Holy beans

1 September, every bean pod is like opening a present

5 September, rainy harvest run

10 September, more yellow appearing in the leaves

Almost ripe Runner beans/Pronkbonen, just in time for my carpet

"Hill" in the front with Holy beans, "Hill" in the back with blooming Runner beans

11 September, graphic beauty in purpelpink and greyish blue

On 10 September I had finally my first ripe Runner bean pods. Already worrying for some weeks if all my beans would ripe in time, all of a sudden Fall set in. The leaves started to turn yellow and the bean pods went from a moist green to a dry brown. Shaking the beans to check if they are ripe is so much fun and I can recommend planting some beans just for this experience!
From all the beanplants, only the Lekatt failed and the Holy Monstrance beans were to late. The other ones I could all harvest in time for my end project, which my next post will be all about.

15 September


Little presents, even with a bow wrapped around the pods

18 September, Sun breaking through after a lot of rainy days

Escaped bean, the pods pop open if you're to late to Harvest them

21 September, last Harvest before the Harvest Fest

* Watch the documentary 'Eeuwig Moes' in Dutch online  
* Read the previous posts about 'Hill of beans' also here on my site