Monthly Archives: August 2016

Jefferson’s Canons of Conduct

Official_Presidential_portrait_of_Thomas_Jefferson_(by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800)As a lot of people know, I like to study the writings and documents that were created by the US Founding Fathers.  I find their insight refreshing, and their forward thinking an inspiration.  This is not a political post in nature, but a post of some good advice that Thomas Jefferson has given.  These are some canons of conduct that he has given in two different letters.  One of the letters was to an individual named Thomas Jefferson Smith (only contained 10 of the 12), and the other was to his granddaughter Cornelia Jefferson Randolph. I have combined the two letters and created one list.  This is advice that I think everyone can use, especially if you are trying to start a farm, and you need to focus your resources on it.  I think that Benjamin Franklin gets a lot of credit for his single line advice because of the Poor Richard’s Almanac that he published, but I think that there are a lot of good tidbits of knowledge from the other founders as well.  Here are some from Thomas Jefferson.

1. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do to-day.

2. Never trouble another with what you can do yourself

3. Never spend your money before you have it

4. Never buy a thing you do not want, because it is cheap, it will be dear to you.

5. Take care of your cents: Dollars will take care of themselves!

6. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.

7. We never repent of having eat[en] too little.

8. Nothing is troublesome that one does willingly.

9. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happen d!

10. Take things always by their smooth handle.

11. Think as you please, & so let others, & you will have no disputes.

12. When angry, count 10. before you speak; if very angry, 100.




I almost always plant a lot of green beans, they seems to grow well under any circumstance, and it seemed like this season it would be the same. Except it isn’t. Everything seemed to start off well, the beans popped right up and got big and strong at first, then they stalled a bit, and started to look a bit poorly. I got an organic fertilizer, and some of them perked up a bit, but not all and not for long.


I love the look of pole beans in the garden, the vertical towers add dimension and depth.

A few weeks ago they looked big enough to start staking and a few started their journey up, but as you can see in the photo, they aren’t very lush and look a bit, sad.
IMG_6705The green beans were planted in one of the two beds that we didn’t sheet mulch.  We didn’t have time to get it done before planting season and I figured that since they were such a hardy and easy-going plant that they’d do just fine with a little manure raked in.  I was wrong.  I think they might be jealous of their neighbors, who are planted in several inches of good compost and mulched heavily with bark and leaves.  Who knew green beans could be such divas?

In reality, I think 4 seasons of planting have taken every bit of fertility the land could possibly give and she had nothing more. In the next week I plan on taking out half of the pole beans and giving the land a nice layer of compost and bunny manure and then I will plant some short season bush beans for a good fall crop.  The other half I will leave, they seem to be doing a bit better and I hope to still have towers of green in my garden.


buds just starting on my purple bush beans.