Flavoring Your Summer Veggies, Right Now
Recently someone commented on an older posting of mine that some of last year's veggies seemed to have no flavor. I think my reply may be of general interest, so I thought I'd post it instead of just replying privately.
The discolored bean leaves I would say are cold damaged. The plant should recover.
For veggies with flavor problems, hmm. The seed being old is ok and won't affect flavor. If it germinates, it's got all the goodies. :-)
Some varieties of veggie are bred for ripening at the same time, or being drought/cold/heat hardy, etc, rather than flavor. If you feel you were using a good variety, though, the next thing to look at is your soil diversity. Trace minerals account for a lot of the flavor, as well as nutrition, in food. It may be time to get a multi-mineral supplement such as greensand or some custom organic preparation, to enrich your soil.
Just like you can make bread with only flour, water, and salt, you can grow a lot of veggies with only NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) but they'll be pretty wonder-bread bland!
One reason that composting is such a good idea is that you're returning minerals from the non-edible parts of the plant into your soil. We were putting our plants into the city compost bin and picking up free city compost until last summer. Then we realized we were swapping our huge peavines and tomato plants for grass clippings and who knows what. Wups! So now we have a leaf-shredder that we use to shred garden waste, and our own compost bin.