Scarlet Runner Beans
Posted: Feb-14-2004 at 11:23am
This year, I am going to try something different - Scarlet runner beans.
Normally, I'm a very plain vegetable gardener. Peas, zucchini, tomatoes.
A customer gave me some of these bean seeds the other day, and I just set up a 15' tall bamboo teepee.
Have any of you grown those up a smooth pole before? If smooth is not sufficient, I can wind a coarse twine up the poles, but I was curious.
If you have grown these beans, how has it worked out for you? Any cultivation method ideas?
Posted: Feb-15-2004 at 11:03am
I am sure the beans easily climb your poles without much help. They are very tenatious! I have built a simple trellis that works very well from cement reinforcing wire. You can buy it at any home improvement store, anywhere you get supplies for cement work, etc. The reinforcing wire is sold by the sheet-- 4 feet by 8 feet and has a 6 inch grid. If you are interested I would be glad to describe how we have used it for pole beans, peas, cucumbers, clematis, and climbing roses, Instant trellis! They dont rot, they dont blow over, and you can reach through the grid and pick the beans on the other side!
Posted: Feb-15-2004 at 12:04pm
We grew scarlet runner beans up 1'x6' bamboo poles last year - it worked great! I used the poles for my tomato trellis, and planted bean seeds around the poles to give them color - and it's what my 5-yr-old wanted to plant . The poles worked well for the beans, but were too weak for the 'maters. I'll try a different design this year....
Didn't do anything special to them; just treated them as ordinary pole beans.
Chris Sunset 4 USDA 8a
Posted: Feb-15-2004 at 4:17pm
As Chris said they will climb with no trouble as they are twiners and the instant they touch that surface they will be twining their way around it.
I grow them mainly for ornamental purposes and for the hummingbirds. We do eat the pods though but you need to harvest them when young and tender. Since they are open pollinated The beans if not near other beans can be dried and saved for next years planting. The flowers and roots can also be eaten but I have not tried either.
I have a page of Phaseolus coccineus,Scarlett Runner Bean in the vines section of the Plant Gallery and Growing Guide.
Posted: Feb-15-2004 at 8:37pm
Nice photos on that bean page.
It will be slick to see those blossoms out our second story kitchen window which looks over the garden.
The neighbors have all been craning their necks at the 15' bamboo teepee, wondering what it's for.
Nice to know our soil is good - I haven't cultivated yet this year, and I was able to just push the 1.5' diameter bamboo poles over a foot into the soil.
I think it's time to check the pH, which I have not done yet in the three years that I've ammended the soil.
The people that gave me the beans didn't say much about how they grow theirs, other than their plants got to at least 12', but they did mention that diagonal slicing was their choice for cooking. They pick the pods at about 4' to 6'.
Posted: Feb-29-2004 at 1:11pm
I think I will have to try this, just for fun. The bloom color is gorgeous. I love stuff that attracts hummers, bees, birds or butterflies! Nice photos Debbie.
Posted: Mar-23-2004 at 8:57am
Gotta love them scarlett runners! Just make sure the trellis is strong, as out here in the Puget Sound, the wind really raises heck with them! Lots and LOTS of bushy green foliage, and beauty red blooms! I have the best success using good 'ol Alaskan Fish fertilizer! You can eat the bean seeds too if you dry them..like pinto beans or limas......great in soups!
Posted: Mar-26-2004 at 10:37pm
Huh, I don't fertilize beans of any sort. If you fertilize them it does work, but it tends to deter colonization by the nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Actually I should qualify that - I don't fertilize them with a nitrogen source. Bone meal can be a good addition to a bed of beans.
Posted: Mar-26-2004 at 11:15pm
hmmmmmmmm.....really trav?.....I never knew that fertilizing the beans would hurt them! My mother in law (I call her the 'Queen of the Scarlett runner') feeds hers regularly w/ fish fert....and they go CRAZY!
Why is it that fertilizer isnt needed?
Bone meal, eh? I'll remember that when throwing out my Blue Lakes. I seem to be finding more and more uses for bone meal! ( besides just bulbs!)
I bought the book about vege gardening in the PacNW, and it should be here anyday....I just hope its not to....'organic' as alot of that stuff has proven to me to be expensive, time consuming, and dissappointing. Especially when your shelling out the bux just to grow a few veges (I'm a home canner), defeats the whole purpose! I'm a sucker for instant gratification, unless were talkin perrenials! I mean, lets face it.....anytime I have to write a check for things like nutshells and nematodes.....I draw the line when there are so many things that are so much more effective. I have just about a half acre of prairie land (we grow some beautiful rocks here), and when we want to plant something, we dig a hole,throw away the dirt, and refill with 'the good stuff'.
Cant wait for the book, and a chance to explore your site, Trav!
Posted: May-04-2004 at 11:50am
Nutshells and nematodes? My idea of 'organic' gardening is to plant a variety of plants, rotate my crops, plant things that encourage beneficial insects, plant the right plant for the conditions of my garden - basically just good gardening practices - and lay off the use of chemicals. I feed my soil with manure and compost to encourage beneficial bacteria and earthworms - I only hand till - and hand pick any caterpillars off my veggies. I expect to lose a few veggies to some beasties, but, all-in-all, I get satisfactory harvests. And no, I'm not overrun with pests because the beneficials keep them at bay.
I don't know who told you that organic means spending lots of money. My experience is that it's way less expensive because I'm not buying anything except Sluggo (and it rarely gets used around the vegetables).
You can do what you want, of course - I just don't want you thinking organic is expensive and complicated. It's actually much less expensive and easy. It has to be, I'm too lazy for anything complicated.
Posted: May-04-2004 at 8:42pm
Beans are in the Legume/Fava family. Many (but not all) plants in this family have the trait that their roots tend to form symbiotic relationships with bacteria that have the ability to 'fix' nitrogen out of the air - basically they take gaseous nitrogen and convert it to a form that is useable by plants.
Fertilizing doesn't 'hurt' the plants. What does happen is the roots of fertilized bean plants tend not to get colonized by the aforementioned bacteria (not sure about the mechanism of this). So rather than be a neutral-to-positive contributor to soil nitrogen, the beans become a net drain just like most every other garden plant.
Most decent garden soil will have sufficient levels of these bacteria in them naturally. Now it's quite possible that, in a garden where the beans and peas have been fertilized every year, there might not be high enough numbers of these bacteria to be self-maintaining. In this case you can buy an inoculant to add to the seed - inoculant is just a fancy way of saying you're buying some of these bacteria. In a new garden it's probably a good idea to use the stuff, since it's cheap insurance.
Posted: May-25-2004 at 5:03pm
Thank you,Travis, It is just a pleasure to read your good information--plus you appeal to my biases--i.e. nature does a fine job without help from us!-- Not only that, nature did the same thing long before we all came on the scene to guide her!
For more information about Scarlet Runner Bean, visit the Plant Gallery and Growing Guide.