Fermented Friday #2: SCOBY Doby Doo

When I mentioned making a ginger bug for soda last week, I also mentioned making a slightly carbonated fermented tea called kombucha. If you’re not sure what kombucha is, it is a sweet tea that has been inoculated and allowed to ferment for a period of time. It is easy to make and a whole lot cheaper than buying it from the store. Kombucha is to the fermenting world what chickens are to homesteading. It’s that gateway that introduces you to the endless world of ferments.

Kombuch Set Up
All you need to start.

Making kombucha is really quite easy, but before you can start brewing batches right and left, you must come up with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) otherwise known as a mother culture. There are a good number of places you can find them online – a quick google search, Amazon, or heck, even us – or you can take the time to make one yourself. Making a SCOBY is not difficult, but if its your first foray into fermenting, it might seem a bit daunting; for all intents and purposes, it is not, and you probably have most of the stuff you’ll need sitting in your kitchen.

Growing Scoby
Baby SCOBY starting to grow.

Kombucha is tea that is fermented, so you’ll need some sort of black tea, sugar, water a fermenting vessel and some plain kombucha. Later in life, when you have multiple SCOBYs you can experiment with different types of teas, but the different oils and compounds can effect your SCOBY adversely so it is recommended to start with a basic black tea. (After using a SCOBY in non-black tea, I give it to the chickens and use another mother next time.) Sugar is another important factor for making kombucha, like any ferment, the bacteria and yeast need sugar to feed on. White refined sugar is what the internet and all the books claim works the best. I have tried different types of sugars and have noticed no difference in taste. Again, to start, use white sugar, and once you get going go ahead and experiment. Remember that honey is an anti-microbial and while it may work for kombucha, it slows the process and hurts the SCOBY. Some people put a lot of focus on the water, saying you have to use filtered water or bottled water. I haven’t found this to be an issue, so long as you don’t have chlorinated water, you should be fine. If your water is chlorinated you can buy bottled water, or let your water sit in a container with an open top (use a coffee filter) and let the chlorine dissipate into the air for a day or two. As far as fermenting vessels go, I’ve used an empty glass gallon jar; it started out full of pickles. Or if a gallon of kombucha is too much, you can get a half-gallon mason jar.

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Once your SCOBY starts growing, they need a home when they’re not being used.

The last key ingredient is the kombucha culture which can actually be obtained from the store. Technically you should use plain kombucha for making a SCOBY as it does not have the additive flavors and oils, however I have been able to use flavored kombucha when the store did not have any plain.

Now it’s time to make your SCOBY. It is simple. When you make your first SCOBY you don’t want a huge batch of kombucha, so you could start with a quart size jar while you eat all your pickles.

  1. Start with a cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar. Heat the water up with one black tea bag or one tablespoon of loose black tea and dissolve the sugar.
  2. Allow the tea to cool to about 70-80°F and remove the tea.
  3. Add your bottle of kombucha. You can add the whole bottle, or you can add less, just make sure to get the visible strains and yeast from the bottom into your batch.
  4. Put a breathable top on your container (rubber bands and coffee filters work well).
  5. Put the container in a warm (70-80°F) place and let it rest.
  6. In a few days – seven at the latest – you’ll start to see a baby SCOBY forming on the top.
  7. In two or three weeks, you’ll have a decent sized mother and will be able to start fermenting your own batches of kombucha.

Making your first batch of kombucha is essentially the same as making a SCOBY, extrapolate your sugar to water ratios and add your mother with a half-cup of starter tea and you’re off!

Fermented Friday #1: Ginger Bug!

Homestead Hack #1: Label Your Eggs!

Another repost. I have since read that a number of folks leave their eggs – with the natural “bloom” still on the shells – on the counter top until they are ready to be used. I guess you could still use this trick, but I am going to stick with putting my eggs in the fridge for now.

If I had to guess, I would imagine that the most common farm-type animal among homesteaders would have to be a chicken. More and more they can be found in urban settings and it seems that everyone knows at least one person with chickens, and with chickens come….eggs! Before long, you will realize you have too many chickens, but do not have the heart to put them in the freezer and you will quickly find yourself inundated with eggs. I know we have had 4.5 dozen eggs in our fridge a few times in the summer months when laying is heavy. Unfortunately, (I found this out as a kid) even with the best egg-rotation schedules, once you start acquiring lots of eggs, there is a chance one of those eggs might have been sitting in the fridge for too long and you will only figure out it is too old when you go to crack it open – which is certainly less than enjoyable. You could label your cartons – as I know many people do – but then you end up with at least two cartons that are not full. I do not know about you, but there is not room in my refrigerator for half-empty egg cartons.

The solution: Label Your Eggs! On the Good View Quarter, before each egg gets its bath in the sink, but before it goes in the carton, it has its laid-on-date scrawled on top. All of our eggs have a date on them. It helps conserve space, and it helps let us know which eggs are freshest, and which ones might be best hard boiled. We like to use pencil. I’m sure ink from a pen would work fine, but pencil seems the safest choice than then say, Sharpie.

Labeled Eggs

Cynthia Nixon: Ignorance and the City

Hailing from Upstate New York, and having some want to return to my childhood home, I follow New York politics to some degree. Lately, King Cuomo has been taking liberty after liberty and freedom after freedom away from the citizens of New York; it has even been rated as the least free state in 2012 and 2016 by the Cato Institute. While, much of the state votes red, New York is almost always blue thanks to New York City and a few other counties: typically, republican gubernatorial or presidential candidates stand little chance. This year, the Libertarian party has put forth an excellent candidate in Larry Sharpe (that many democrats and republicans could get behind if they looked at his policies) but of course, the media attention sticks with the left, documenting King Cuomo’s further power grabs, Anthony Weiner-esque crazy rants and of course his crony capitalist corruption – of course, all with a positive spin. This year, one of Cuomo’s leftist primary opponents has been garnering more media coverage than that of the Republicans or Larry Sharpe. It may in part be due to her already risen star, or maybe it’s just New York politics, but the former Sex in the City star Cynthia Nixon has already been on the Late show with Colbert, and picked up tons of media coverage. She was also endorsed by the Working Families Party, a progressive-left leaning party that are also proponents of raising the minimum wage and making higher education a universal right. (Which when inspected closer, actually cause more problems for the individuals they are trying to help.)

To be fair, I do not have the time to dig into all of Nixon’s stances on issues, but one in particular crossed my news feed and caught my eye. Over the last decade or so, cannabis has become more of an accepted plant, with some states going so far as to decriminalize it’s recreational use. Nixon feels the same way and said so in an article on the Huffington Post. It would seem that this is great news. Another gubernatorial candidate – after Larry Sharpe – for New York State wants to legalize cannabis: “a win for choice and personal liberties,” I thought. And then I read the byline: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity,” and this is where my excitement died. Unfortunately, Nixon’s stance is akin to many of those on the left, they see that minorities make up a larger number of drug crimes than that of the white majority, but then they suggest the resolution to the problem is simply to make that crime no longer a crime. This is hugely problematic and makes very little sense when considered as part of a larger picture.

Nixon claims that cannabis use is “effectively legal” for white people but not for minorities. To some degree she is correct. According to the ACLU: “despite roughly equal usage rates, blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested.” This may sound startling, and it may in fact be problematic, but consider that the law is not inherently racist. It is simply words on a paper deeming interactions with a specific plant to be criminal behavior. You could decriminalize cannabis, but incarceration rates for minorities across the board will continue to out pace those of whites due to policing policy. In heavily populated urban areas which have a majority population of minorities, there is a higher police presence than in low populated rural areas which are predominantly white. And of course when there is a higher police presence, there is a higher likelihood a police officer will see a crime. Undoubtedly, there is some bias in the minds of some police officers who might release a white teen with a warning for smoking a joint, but would instead take a black teen doing the same thing down to the station, but not at a rate of 3.73 times more. And if you disagree with this, know that that as of 2012, 52% of the NYC police force was white.

Nixon’s went on to say:

There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana, but for me, it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that
white people do with impunity.

Let us think about this logically. Essentially, she is saying that because one race specific group is arrested for a crime more than another race, we should nullify the law that makes that specific action illegal; we do not need to consider how the law is enforced, that police departments encourage revenue generating tickets or arrests, that there are quotas within departments, or that unconstitutional policies like stop-and-frisk are an actual policy. Instead, we are going to focus on race. Let us humor Ms Nixon, in 2015 73% of all arsons were committed by white people, so according to Ms Nixon’s belief in absolving laws based on uneven racial conviction rates we should make arson legal.

This is racial ideology at it’s finest. And of course, the progressive left cannot see it and have missed the actual problem altogether. Arson, defined in common law as the malicious burning of the dwelling of another, should no doubt remain illegal as one individual is damaging, destroying, or otherwise negatively impacting the property of another individual: i.e. property rights. But consider cannabis use: cannabis use is one individual consuming a plant in a variety of methods to achieve an altered state of personal consciousness. The simple act of consuming the cannabis plant does not damage anyone’s property. This is where Nixon – and many other politicians – fail to recognize that the government has absolutely no jurisdiction over the legality of personal consumption of a plant. The individual is born with certain inalienable rights, and there is little doubt that the individual should have the right to do as they see fit with their own body, especially when it does not adversely effect any other individuals personal or property rights.

We do not allow the State to mandate birth control, vitamins, or supplements, so why is the State allowed to tell us what not to consume? Giving the State the power to approve what an individual puts into their bodies is essentially confirming a master. This is not an issue of race, it is an issue of personal property rights and self-ownership. The individual owns their body, not the State. When we advocate to end the War on Drugs, it should not be racially motivated, it should be reasoned that all individuals regardless of race have the right to choose what they do with their private property so long as they do not impinge upon another individual’s personal property. It should be reasoned that the individual owns their body, not the State.

Fermented Friday #1: Ginger Bug!

Another repost from the old blog. I am coming to realize soda making is a super fun, fairly inexpensive hobby. It’s healthier than the store bought stuff, and you do not have to pay a sugar tax to your local Uncle Sam!

One of the reasons behind homesteading for us is the cutting down of stuff; a limiting of trash. Unfortunately – or not – a lot of this garbage comes from food packaging. Not only can we (most probably) all agree that refined foods are bad for you, but they also generate some of the most garbage – plastic bags inside of boxes, wrapped in cellophane? This means that the sleeve of saltines is one of the first things to go, which is not a huge effort for us, but a little tougher than kicking the saltines to the curb is our seltzer habit. Aside from milk, seltzer is the only beverage we buy from the store.

Embarking on a seltzer-less journey, I really wanted to find some sort of substitute for the whole family that could still give us that mouth cleansing effervescence found in a can of seltzer. Of course (mediocre) beer is easy enough to make, but even with a low ABV, it could easily result in trouble, especially if we start giving it to the kids, so that’s out. Then there is kombucha, which my daughter will devour, but my son is repulsed by. So I turned my eye toward soda.

Our kids very rarely have soda – mostly at church functions and birthday parties – as it is not exactly what I would call child-friendly or healthy. But as I thought about brewing a batch of soda, I remembered back to college, making a few batches of Birch beer soda, then I remembered adding sugar. Where as beer brewing the yeast convert the sugar into alcohol, with soda, the yeast only turn the sugar into carbonation and are put in the fridge. They are not given enough time to create an alcoholic brew. (Plus it is the wrong kind of yeast.) With this concept in mind, it became clear that the amount of sugar added to a brew is more-or-less up to the cook, and has potential to be a low-sugar beverage.

You can make soda a few different ways, most recently it seems that soda making machines are all the rage, but that sort of defeats the purpose of getting rid of stuff. You can also just add sugar water or juice to seltzer – again, defeating the less-junk purpose. But believe it or not, there is a way to make soda naturally, with lacto-fermentation. This is the path we decided to take. Where as kombucha needs a SCOBY to grow, soda needs a bug, and once you have a bug, the soda possibilities are only limited by your imagination. And there are a plethora of books out there to help you on your journey to soda making master.

Once you’ve made a bug – or otherwise obtained a culture – the process is fairly simple: boil some water, add some sugar, add some flavorings, cool, add some bug, bottle. But before you go making a bug or some soda, there are some things to consider:

  1. Grolsch style bottles are recommended, though they should be burped during the fermentation process. No one wants a ginger ale cocktail bomb in their pantry.
  2. For the cocktail bomb reason, you can always reuse older plastic soda bottles. (Plastic bottles do not really create shrapnel.)
  3. Carbonation is fleeting. We have found that once a bottle is fully opened. Soda should be consumed with in a couple of days lest it become a flat, nasty, mess. This is why we use 1-liter or smaller bottles. (Also, Grolsch bottles are smaller, single serving sizes. It also seems that cola-style sodas seem to loose their carbonation quicker.)
  4. Like beer, you can filter your soda and remove some of the flavorings before bottling, or you can leave them for an unfiltered taste and appearance. Once soda has become carbonated, it’s very hard to filter the flavorings without going flat, so we remove the flavorings prior to bottling.

Making the Bug

ginger bug
A bubbling, happy, bug.

Making a ginger bug is a fairly simple process. It requires a bit of prolonged attention, but very little time. To make a bug here’s what you’ll need:

35-45 grams of finely chopped ginger
35-40 grams of white sugar
2 cups of water
Quart Size Mason Jar

Before we make the bug, we process all our ginger in the food processor; after we’re done with what we need for the day, we put it back in the fridge until the next day we need it. The naturally occurring yeast that turn apples into cider and grapes into wine are found on the skin, so we include our ginger skin when making a bug, but you don’t have to. As for the sugar, you can experiment around with different types, but when it comes down to it, simple white sugar seems to be the best for making a bug. Remember, honey is an antimicrobial, so while you may be able to play around with individual batches and honey, your bug will have a hard time staying alive surviving just on honey.

On day one add 15 g (or 1 large tablespoon) of ginger to your mason jar. Add an equal amount of sugar, and your two cups of water. Stir it up so the sugar dissolves. Cover it with a coffee filter and rubber band, put it in a warm place and let it rest until tomorrow. (Supposedly, metal kills yeast and should not be used to make breads and other products that contain microorganisms. Growing up, we always used a fork to make pizza dough and never had a problem. All the same, we use a wooden spoon now.)

On day two, add 5 g of ginger and an equal amount of sugar. Stir, cover and let rest.

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Cold, green tea ginger ale.

Continue this process for a total of five days – so three more days – or more if you are in a colder climate and your bug does not seem to be generating much activity. You will know your bug is alive when bubbles start amassing on the surface. You also can start smelling faintly floral yeasty activity within the jar and if you’re quiet, you can hear the bubbles popping.

Once your bug is formed, you can use it right away to make some naturally fermented soda, or you can wait. There are two options to waiting, you can store it on the counter or in the fridge. If you store the bug on the counter, it will remain active and will need to be fed nearly daily 5 g of ginger and an equal amount of sugar. If you store the bug in the fridge, it will still need to be fed, but on a weekly basis. To be honest, I’ve had a bug in the fridge that I’ve forgotten about for three weeks, and it survived.

Replenishing the Bug

After making your first batch of soda – most recipes call for ½ cup of bug – you need to replenish your bug. Add half a cup of water, 5 g of ginger and 5 g of sugar. Typically after use we like to leave the bug on the counter for a day or two (feeding it each day) to really get active and incorporate the new water before we throw it back in the fridge. It’s been a fun experiment for both parents and kids and tastes pretty good, too, though I can’t say it’s a permanent staple in our fridge.

No Solution in Sensationalism

I like to believe there was a time when journalism was journalism: when actual facts were checked with reputable references, not just some guy on Twitter who may or may not have fabricated a document. A time when newspapers and magazines sold because they contained pertinent information and facts that allowed the reader to form an educated opinion. I want to believe this, because this certainly is not the case in today’s world of “journalism.” We live in a time with an endless supply of media outlets constantly rushing to be the first to cover a story and in this rush, facts are lost and misrepresented – sometimes knowingly (Syria anyone?). No longer can a media program survive on a channel, bolstered by programs of entertainment; instead a reporter must sell a story and garner their own ratings. A story must catch the viewers attention in the seconds it takes to flip to the next channel. A writer must convince the reader to click and follow along from a title and half a by-line. No longer are they reporters, but story tellers.

Journalism has turned into sensationalism. Every mainstream piece of media that trends on Twitter or Facebook or cycles through CNN, MSNBC, FOX, every single piece is sensationalized. They do not present facts, they confirm biases. They affirm their audiences belief. Unfortunately, if they want to stay alive, they must. But in the long run, who does this help? Surely it does not help the people who could do with learning just the facts before making a decision. Rather, it helps the media outlets. In a world where people are more concerned about one of the Kardashians butt implants, the latest celebrity to land in rehab, or the most recent football player to beat his girlfriend, we are drawn to drama and extreme emotions and the media devours us alive. It sells us sensationalized non-facts.

Consider the recent events in Parkland, Florida. All of social media was in an uproar a week later, not over the safety of children at school and how to resolve that issue, but over gun control. Why? Because that is a polarizing issue that can sell ad space and generate clicks. Is anyone going to argue that killing children is a good thing? Probably not. But what is something we can argue about? The Second Amendment. So that is what the media fires up; a story that will either outrage us, or confirm our already cemented beliefs. There is no more fair and balanced journalism. Everything has a side. It is the only way to sell. Let’s face it, no one is swayed because of a half-truth article CNN pushes out about how bad an AR is. (Consider AR stands for ArmaLite, the company who popularized the typical AR look. Also consider that by the US Army’s definition, the AR-15

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So if someone shoots me with a handgun, it won’t hurt as much?

is not an assault rifle.) The people who are already anti-second amendment are cemented in those beliefs and the folks who are pro-second amendment are cemented in their beliefs. Both sides present “facts” about school shootings and gun violence and back those facts up with statistics from one source or another, but more often than not, these facts completely contradict each other, so who is wrong? In a rational world, we could have that discussion. We could debate openly about what these statistics mean and what information is faulty, but we are not rational. We are immediate. We are right. We are sensationalized.

If we could step back and look at things with perspective, we would realize that while shootings are not a good thing, there are other things going on with our children that are much worse. Consider that, according to the CDC, in 2015, 2,333 16-19 year old teens died in automobile accidents and another 200,000+ went to the emergency room. That breaks down to six teens per day, and that’s only 16-19 year olds! Now consider that 300 K-12 students have been killed in school since 1980. Understandably, no one wants their children to die, and certainly not at school, a place you are, to a degree, compelled to send your children, but at the same time, you cannot even compare those numbers. There are certainly much more dangerous things we allow our children to do every day, that we do not even blink at.

So why the outrage? Shootings impact a single community much more so than a car accident; when one community looses a member it grieves, but the more individuals a community looses to a single event, the higher the level of grief as more families are directly impacted. But let us look at it from the media’s perspective: who cares about a car accident? Is there any debate over whether or not we should use cars? Does anyone really proclaim that drunk driving is a good thing? Do we battle over what age teens should be allowed to drive? Or speed limits? Is the nation going to watch a piece about a car wreck in some no-name town? No! Cars are common place. Virtually everyone uses them or has knowledge how to use them. We grow up learning how to use them by watching adults model appropriate driving skills; we even learn how to use them in classroom settings. There is very little polarizing when it comes to cars (other than maybe emissions.) But guns, guns are different. Guns are not something everyone has. They are not objects everyone grows up learning to use as a part of life. We are convinced that only the criminal element needs guns. We are taught that guns are scary and should be feared. And that fear can be sensationalized. That fear can be sold.

Imagine what would happen if the media presented unbiased facts? Imagine if they helped create a discourse around safety in schools instead of polarizing the people and spreading propagandist half-truths as facts. It might not get the Tide-Pod-Eaters attention, but certainly it would help society a bit. So what do we do? Consider the opinions of others, consider their points. It is important for us all to realize that we are not right about everything; that our opinions are just that: opinions. To hold so tightly to our own opinions and belief structure that there is no room for others is sheer idiocy. The only way to advance as a society is to learn from the experiences of other people and try to understand them, to understand that our personal experiences do not apply to everyone. Believe it or not, the media and the pundits do not have the answers. They are not experts; they do not even know the facts. What they do know is how to sell a story and unfortunately, that story passes as news.

Potawatomi Lima Beans

Another repost, specifically on the background and phenotypic characteristics of the Potawatomi Lima Bean we have been growing over the past decade. We also link to this page from our “For Sale or Trade” page. (Essentially this is the listing.) These items are available for sale or trade, and we love crypto.

Potawatomi Line Up
A selection of the color and shapes seen in Potawatomi beans.

Potawatomi Lima beans hail from the Potawatomi Indians of Southern Michigan. After numerous years of selective preservation of these seeds, the Potawatomis had a lima bean that could grow in colder climates and shorter seasons. These are a pole variety and easily cover 8-foot teepees before looking elsewhere to climb. The seeds can be eaten as a shelling bean, or allowed to dry on the plant and used as a dry bean.

These specific limas did well in Vermont where we were able to collect both dried and green beans. In Georgia we are able to get two dried bean crops off one plant per season. Pods will shatter while still on the plant if left to mature too long. The seeds from shattered pods that land early in the summer will often end up producing a crop of shelling beans by the fall.

Very prolific plants, these cream, maroon and black seeds all came from pods of four or more seeds. Over the last decade or so we have been selecting for plants with four or more seeds per pod and while the numbers are still low, the number of 4+ pods have been steadily increasing.

Potawatomi Lima Bean
Phaseolus lunatus
Climbing vines up to 8 feet
Many three seeded pods, some four
15 grams ~25 seeds, $2.50 plus shipping and handling, just drop us a line.

Read up on how we came to select this variety.

Choosing A Bean

We have seeds for purchase on our “For Sale or Trade” page.

There is something oddly soothing about seeds. You’ll know the feeling if you’ve ever dug your hands into a garbage can size box of loose seeds at the local nursery or if you’ve managed to be able to keep and harvest your own seeds. (If you’ve never been able to do so, I suggest going to the bulk section of the grocery store and shoving your hands in the unpopped popcorn bin. Just don’t let anyone see you…). I can’t place if it’s the actual texture and feel of hundreds of cool seeds gently caressing your skin, or if it’s the growth and food potential packed into all those seeds, but something about hundreds of tiny seeds is just awe inspiring.

And beans are further spectacular for all their intricate patterns and designs. I can’t be sure, but I’m willing to bet that like a snowflake, no two non-single color beans are patterned the exact same way. They may have a general pattern, but when you actually study each beans seed coat, the differences are amazing.

Potawatomi Line Up
Just like snowflakes, but so much cooler!

The main staple bean we have chosen to grow is a Potawatomi Lima bean. It’s of the pole variety, easily climbing an eight foot pole, while continuing to look for somewhere higher to grow. Originally, the Potawatomi Limas came from the Potawatomi Indians in Southern Michigan. Our choosing the Potawatomi Lima wasn’t random but a calculated choice with multiple factors:

  1. Their location of origin was key. While we are in Georgia now, we were living in Vermont when we purchased these seeds. If you’re familiar with Vermont, you’ll know that the summer is fleeting and the weather is cool and damp. Without a greenhouse, there are some definite constraints when it comes time for growing. So a Lima – which otherwise has a very hard time growing in New England – needed to be cold weather friendly, and it seemed like Southern Michigan was a good bet.
  2. Pole variety! We really wanted a pole bean as it would get off the ground and clear some space up for other crops – like potatoes. We were on 1/5th of an acre at the time.
  3. These limas provide two types of food. The beans could be eaten green as shelled beans or dried and used as a dry bean.
  4. It is a lima bean! By growing a lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), it meant that we could grow a common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) for green beans, and we wouldn’t have to worry about cross pollination.

In Vermont these beans worked out great. We did not have huge pulls of beans, but we had plenty to keep us happy and they made a great supplement to our CSA. It was also evident that while they don’t like the cold, they weren’t’ as fragile as some other beans we have grown when it came to cold nights.

Pot tails
Soaked, sprouted and ready to cook.

The Potawatomi Limas have done just as well, if not better, in Georgia. We are able to get them in the ground early and we end up having two crops of dried beans. (We only save seed from the first crop.) We are also able to get a good number of green beans for shelling. And of course, because of the dry lima pods ability to pop open and shoot seeds everywhere, we always find random volunteers germinating some place we didn’t plant them. More often than not we let them grow, but even when we have to kill them, they make an excellent cover crop/green fertilizer.

Overall, we are very impressed with this variety. Over the last ten years, we’ve been saving seeds from pods with four beans. In the beginning, we had mostly two and three beans per pod with the occasional four-bean-pod. We still don’t have a plant with only four-bean-pods (that won’t be for another 20 years down the road, maybe…), but their prevalence is much higher and the number of two-bean-pods is significantly lower. We have tried a variety of beans in the garden, and while I never thought I’d fall in love with a lima bean, so it has become. Do you have a favorite vegetable variety you go back to every year?