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I'm in 8B, as well. I've planted Providers in the past, but they just didn't do very well. Contenders have done the best out of any variety I've planted.

I am in 3b? and contenders are my best bean producer as well ,seems like a really good set the first time and then they just keep coming
 

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I'm in 8B, as well. I've planted Providers in the past, but they just didn't do very well. Contenders have done the best out of any variety I've planted.
I just planted more Contenders 11 days ago. They are up and thriving in this "cooler" weather. Providers have always performed well for me until last year, when none came up--not sure why.
 

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In the past I've always planted Contenders in the spring along with one other later variety to spread out the picking. Contenders only get planted in the fall garden as well. This year I decided to try the Providers in the fall since all the bean canning is done and they'll be for fresh eating. Of course, canning too if needed :) They're looking really good right now and starting to flower.
 

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Both Contenders and Provider are tasty beans. Contender seems to hold better when the heat hits but you know how that goes. Next year I'm going to try to extend my bean season by using shade cloth to cover my hoop houses when it starts getting hot.

Question: Do you season your beans when you can them?
 

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Usually no seasoning. but last year 5th Gear did try a small batch of a new version that has lemon juice in it. They were pretty good so I think she put up about five pints of them this year just to have some on hand.
 

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Usually no seasoning. but last year 5th Gear did try a small batch of a new version that has lemon juice in it. They were pretty good so I think she put up about five pints of them this year just to have some on hand.
Thanks. I've never used any seasonings on mine, but was considering a pinch of salt and some lemon juice. Maybe I'll try it next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #627 ·
Sometimes I put a bit of diced onion in with my beans when canning. Just like the flavor.
 

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Sometimes I put a bit of diced onion in with my beans when canning. Just like the flavor.
That sounds good. Think I'll try that too. I forgot, I did add some crispy bacon crumbles to a couple of jars of pintos last year and that was good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #629 · (Edited)
Had surgery, so wasn't out in the garden much until this week. Still harvesting the tiny cherry tomatoes, and tomatillos, and have been getting the last of the various peppers. Letting the remaining green beans dry on the plants, so that I can save the seed for planting next year. Carrots are growing really well. Will need to check them soon to check on size, etc. Will need to get lettuce and spinach seeded in soon.
 

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Hope your surgery went well.

My lettuce, spinach, chard and broccoli are growing nicely. My peas are flowering and my beans are getting ready to. Like you I'm still picking cherry tomatoes. With highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's everything is doing well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #631 ·
Cow (the one in my avatar) had dropped her calf sometime today while I was at work. Little dun-colored bull calf. We had been hoping for a heifer. Oh well. We named him Chuck (roast). WIll try to get a pic and post it this weekend.

We had to play "round up" to get the cow and calf (along with the girl goats) into the pen, so he'll be protected from coyotes, plus they can get into the stall to stay dry/warm. We managed to get all the girls into the pen and left last year's bull calf on the OUTSIDE of the pen. He is NOT happy. Calf did NOT want to cooperate with going into the pen, so we ended up putting him into the wheelbarrow to get him moved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #632 ·
A friend of son-in-law's texted him Saturday - he had a swarm of bees on a branch of one of his Bay trees, and wanted to know if we wanted them. Heck YEAH! We got the hive body (hive with no bees in it) prepped (lower hive body with frames in it, and removed all the frames from the upper hive body, and prepped a feeder) and son-in-law went over Sunday Morning while it was still dark with a 5 gallon bucket with a gamma seal lid. They cut the branch off and popped it into the bucket (with swarm still attached) and putt he lid on, then brought it home and simply put the branch into that empty hive body and put the lid on. Bees all went into the lower hive body, and the branch was pulled out. Bees seem to be quite happy (so far) in their new digs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #634 ·
How many hives do you have now?
Just the one at the moment. The previous times I've tried to to establish a hive, they've been "raided" by local bees (there had been a wild hive that were living in the gas tank of an old (1951) truck body that was on the property. We sold the truck body to someone as a "project" truck, and they hauled it away, bees and all.) We moved the hive body to a more sheltered spot, near where the old truck body had been, so hoping that these ones will stick around and thrive. Also put some lemongrass leaves on the bottom board under the screen under the bottom hive body, as an attractant to encourage them to stay. So far, they seem to be liking the location. We'll probably buy another hive setup, and order another batch of bees, to populate it. If that doesn't work, we'll see about capturing another swarm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #635 ·
Well, daughter and I went out to check on the bees this morning. Every single freaking bee was DEAD! About the only thing that we can figure is that they were already dying when we got them, as January is NOT the time of year that bees swarm, UNLESS something happened to their hive. We figure that their hive must have been destroyed, and possible sprayed with insecticide, as well, to have driven them away at this time of year. So, ordered two packages of Carnolinian bees to be delivered April/May timeframe.
 
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