Sometimes procrastination pays off. I was behind planting seeds this spring, and didn't get around to planting my pole beans until well into June. I almost didn't bother since it was so late, but I'd bought a packet of heirloom seeds during a field trip to Seed Savers in Decorah last fall, and I wanted to try them.

While everyone else enjoyed the usual crop of beans, I was buying beans during peak season at the farmers market this year. But now, seemingly overnight, the tiny little proto beans are fully fledged and ready to pick. And they're everywhere, as beans are wont to be. At a quick glance, it seems there's hardly enough for a meal. But once you start picking, then you find another pocket of beans hiding behind one of those enormous leaves, and then another, and pretty soon you're wondering what new thing you can do with beans.

I plant pole beans because I don't have a super large garden space, so the vertical space above my raised beds is priceless. As a bonus, it means much less stooping to pick the beans, which are never lower than waist high and many are at eye level, prompting you to pick them before they get overripe and rubbery. And I opt for purple, just because they look ornamental while dangling from the canopy of vines.(They turn green when you cook them.)

The timing of my crop was accidental, but I've decided it's not a bad idea. It gives the peas more chance to have run their course before the beans start to cast a shadow. Plus it means I don't have such a long bean season that I get to the point that I get tired of picking them and they get away from me, and it keeps me interested in the garden well past the time I'm usually over it. I guess I can just pretend I planned this as a late season crop. Yeah, that's the ticket.

What's turning ripe in your garden these days? Did you deliberately opt for some "second harvest" crops?