• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Bill Erickson
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Bryant RedHawk
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Dan Boone
  • Daron Williams

Scarlet Runner Beans - perennial!?!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1916
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So today's random internet rambling have taken me on a merry path - I found a fascinating series of articles on efforts to produce perennial grain crops. Sounds great in theory but they don't seem to be quite there yet.

One particularly interesting bit was the discovery that runner beans are a tender perennial - with shelter they will survive the winter and resprout vigorously from the same root stock. We've grown runners as annuals for years and never knew that.

I'm now trying to think how to use it - we are experimenting with an area of "back to eden" wood chip garden this year. Would say 6 inches of wood chip be sufficient winter protection for the roots through a UK winter? Some other places were talking about lifting the roots and storing in a cool cellar, or swaddling an area in straw or fleece.

Any thoughts? Anyone grow their runners as perennials?

Mike
 
Posts: 395
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
15
duck food preservation solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not easily perennial here either, but a super-easy annual to save and grow! The way the big seeds burst out through mulch, it's easy enough to place them each year where I need them..
 
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
89
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do!
Kent's climate's reasonably temperate, yes? Actually, I think runners would usually survive the winters in most of the UK.
And there's many, many varieties. I grow some scarlet runners, mainly because they just keep coming up...
My maincrop is a runner with huge white beans and white flowers. It has many local names, one is 'white butterfly runner'.
It's hugely productive, drought, cold and heat tolerant, good as a green bean, fantastic dried, and it even does the washing up
 
Posts: 25
Location: Gardner, MA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Glad I found this thread.  I had read about these in The 2 Hour Garden by Roger Grounds, and was curious about them because I like beans. 

One of the reasons I found this thread is because today I saw a hummingbird feeding on ours, which surprised me.  So I started researching them more, and found a link to here after I read on wiki that they were perennials and I searched trying to figure out if I could manage that here. 

Apparently the hummingbird attractant factor is a well known thing, and I'm late to learning the fact.  I'm in 5b, so I don't know if I can cover keep the two that made it from three planted this year.  We still have a lot of seeds left over from what we bought, plus we'll have whatever seeds from the plants as well for next year.

Here's a picture of ours, taken July 16th.  We were late getting things in the ground this year (first year with our kitchen garden).  They were planted on June 1st.
 
gardener
Posts: 3472
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
810
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I grow a genetically diverse selection of runner beans. One year I dug the plants in the fall, and sent those with large rhizomes to a friend in a warmer climate. Only some of the plants had roots that looked like they might be perennial: 3 plants out of 100. So I'm speculating that some varieties might be more perennial than others. Also, based on my results, some varieties are likely to store much more energy in the roots, and thus may be able to get themselves started much more robustly in the spring. And it seems like perennial-ness would be an easy trait to select for if starting with a genetically diverse population.



My collaborators and I have written more about this at: http://alanbishop.proboards.com/thread/8919/over-winter-runner-bean-roots
 
Posts: 23
Location: Vancouver Canada zone 8b
6
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I bought some Czar white runner beans from Real Seeds Uk shortly before they stopped shipping internationally. They are a great seed company and I miss them. I live in zone 8 Canada near Vancouver and I overwintered one by chance in a large plastic pot. The bean grew the following year quickly and was the first to set beans and is a monster. We had a lot of snow last winter and apart from some mulch I didn’t set out to pamper it. Will definitely save seed this year just in case though.
D05A50CA-FA66-40F5-9DD7-B1B86C0936B4.jpeg
[Thumbnail for D05A50CA-FA66-40F5-9DD7-B1B86C0936B4.jpeg]
Base of the plant
91BD4DD5-CA88-418D-975D-2F051A5053A1.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 91BD4DD5-CA88-418D-975D-2F051A5053A1.jpeg]
 
Posts: 59
Location: South of Capricorn
7
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
how intriguing!! I always plant them at the end of summer when the normal pole beans are done and had no idea. (I am in 9B, we get a few hard frosts but even on those days it usually warms up during the daytime.)  they will grow during the winter but tend to poop out as it gets colder. The flea beetles push them over the cliff, usually, I suppose since there's not much else for them to eat. By the time the pods are dry I pull the whole mess and feed the vines to the rabbits, never thought to see how long they will last. Next time I'll have to experiment!

the hummingbirds do love them. so do the bean weevils! they grow well from collected seeds but they need to be stored in the freezer.
 
Posts: 70
Location: New Zealand
11
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My grandmother had a runner bean plant that resprouted every year for at least 30 years in her vegie garden. They are herbaceous perennials here rather than evergreens.  I tried them as a living mulch but the cultivars I tried only survived a few seasons. They are best in a coolish moist climate, my 3" rain per month summer is too dry for them to remain perennial without irrigation.
 
Tereza Okava
Posts: 59
Location: South of Capricorn
7
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ben Waimata wrote:They are best in a coolish moist climate, my 3" rain per month summer is too dry for them to remain perennial without irrigation.


Ah, this may be at play here too then, we tend to have a dryish but cool winter (30-60 days with no rain).
 
I was born with webbed fish toes. This tiny ad is my only friend:
Rocket oven documentary pre-sale now available
https://permies.com/t/90306/Rocket-oven-documentary-pre-sale
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!