Pickin’ beans – a rolling experience

A beautiful day here today. The weather is absolutely fall-like right now – low 70s, mostly sunny, a slight breeze and low humidity – and this is the middle of August? I must admit that I’ll take the hottest, most humid summer day over any winter day, but if I have a choice between that hot, humid summer day and today, I’ll take today. It was so nice, in fact, that I took the day off of work.

There were a few things I wanted to do around the house today, not the least of which was to put this together –

RollingCartYep, my rolling work/garden seat is ready to roll. Now that I’ve used it here is my “review.”

First, the specs say the weight limit is 300 pounds. I’m sorry to say that I am the right person to test that. So far it has been holding up. In fact, I think the only weak point when it comes to weight might be the seat post and the metal cross strap it is mounted on. If you raise the seat all the way up and then sit on the edge of the seat, I can see where it might be possible to bend the cross strap or possibly even break the seat post weldment at that point. This shouldn’t be a concern for someone of a reasonable weight, and after a few hours of use I have had no issue with it, but I’ll be watching that.

The seat is raised and lowered by screwing it up or down into it’s mounting bracket. There is a cotter pin to keep it from coming out all the way. Also, there is a seat height adjustment lever which is supposed to keep the seat height from changing. Once you set the seat height you want, you tighten the adjustment lever which is supposed to act like a lock nut. A good idea in concept, but it does not provide enough force to keep the seat from swiveling when I sit on it. With my size, it would take something special to make that work.

On the other hand, it’s not like the seat automatically lowers if it is not locked in place. I actually found this to be a good thing. I suppose there may be times when you would like the seat locked in one position, but as I was using it I found that I wanted the seat to swivel so that I could maneuver in the garden more easily.

There is a version of a similar cart that has a steerable front end. That is useful when taking the seat out to the garden, but once you are in the garden sitting on it, you pretty much want to go straight anyways. Also, the steering mechanism has a handle, somewhat like the metal red wagons do, and I think that handle would be more in the way than a help. To drag the seat to the garden, I took an old dog leash (thanks, Holly, wherever you may be) and attached it to the front axle. It’s simple enough to lift the one end just enough to let me drag it easily by just the two wheels on the opposite end.

The “tool tray” under the seat would accommodate a few small tools, but you’re not going to pack a tool box in there. I used it to stash the dog leash while it was still attached to the seat. The tires came inflated and did not need any additional air, but they are pneumatic tires so I’m sure they will need to be topped off occasionally, and you certainly need to make sure you don’t roll over something sharp or pointy. The width of the whole seat did work in my garden paths.

How did I try it out? I picked green beans. I didn’t use it with the seat in the orientation shown in the pic, but had the seat turned sideways. It worked very well, and saved my back from the consequences of a long picking session. I’m really glad I bought it.

Up to this point I had harvested 6 3/4 pounds of green beans. With my bad back, I have had to wait to harvest more. Also, as I didn’t have the parts I need to convert my pressure canner, I wanted to leave the beans on the plants as long as I could. However, I could wait no longer. As it is many of the beans are way bigger than the size at which I would normally harvest them. If I waited any longer they would be good for nothing but dried beans. I probably spent at least two hours picking beans and would not have been able to do that without that rolling seat.

This was the peak of the harvest. I would usually just pull the plants up at this point because they won’t be bearing many more beans, but there are some smallish beans out there and the plants look nice out there still. I brought in 16 pounds of beans! My fridge is so full of beans I don’t think I can get anything else in there. Hopefully my back ordered canner part will come by this weekend and I will start working on putting them up. There’s a lot of work to do, but that’s why I do this.

While I was out there I harvested a couple more summer squash. I also put a little fertilizer on the tomato plants and turned the soaker hose on because I’m concerned about the progress of the tomato plants. I finally have one tomato that appears to be turning red. Hopefully it’s in good shape and not rotten on the bottom or anything. I haven’t looked at it that closely. You can just barely see the red tomato near the bottom of the far tomato plant, but only if you have sharp eyes and zoom into the picture –

TomatoPlants081313I don’t think I have posted a picture of the soaker hose in the garden. Here it is –

Garden081313

That bare spot in the near row of green beans is where I have some bunching onions planted, which is why the soaker hose is there. It then loops down to the beets, up past the cucumber plants, through the summer squash, and then has a single loop around each tomato plant. I have another soaker hose, too, and while it is too late for using it this year on the green beans, I need to get them both in place at the start of the garden, rather than wait until I have to work around plants. For as much rain as we had early in the season, the garden hasn’t gotten enough rain for a couple of weeks now, at least.

And that was my vacation day. I barbecued some chicken thighs and wrote this post, and that was enough for today. If I were wealthy I could get used to not going to the old job every day. Since that’s a total fantasy, I’m glad that I at least have as much vacation time as I do. Today was worth using up some of that time.