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Scarlet Runner Beans - perennial!?!

 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1575
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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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
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 369
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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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..
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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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
 
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