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Steve Harris 08-11-2004 01:34 PM

Overwintering Runner Beans - best method?
 
Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.

This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still attached
and I'm hoping to improve :-)

- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?

Thanks!

Steve Harris - Cheltenham - Real address steve AT netservs DOT com
A useful bit of gardening software at http://www.netservs.com/garden/

ex WGS Hamm 08-11-2004 02:35 PM


"Steve Harris" wrote in message
...
Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.

This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still attached
and I'm hoping to improve :-)

- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?


You don't, you sow new seed every year.



bigboard 08-11-2004 03:30 PM

ex WGS Hamm wrote:


"Steve Harris" wrote in message
...
Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.

This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still attached
and I'm hoping to improve :-)

- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?


You don't, you sow new seed every year.



Runner beans are a perennial in their natural environment, not an annual. It
is therefore perfectly possible to keep them alive for more than one year.

--
Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less
obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no
solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid.
There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no
straight lines.
-- R. Buckminster Fuller


Tim Challenger 08-11-2004 03:38 PM

On Mon, 08 Nov 2004 15:30:18 +0000, bigboard wrote:

ex WGS Hamm wrote:


"Steve Harris" wrote in message
...
Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.

This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still attached
and I'm hoping to improve :-)

- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?


You don't, you sow new seed every year.


Runner beans are a perennial in their natural environment, not an annual. It
is therefore perfectly possible to keep them alive for more than one year.


So what *is* their natural environment. Maybe we can help Steve to recreate
the right conditions.
--
Tim C.

Franz Heymann 08-11-2004 03:47 PM


"Steve Harris" wrote in message
...
Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of

stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.

This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still

attached
and I'm hoping to improve :-)

- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?


I thought runner beans were annuals, but I am willing to be corrected.

Franz



Jaques d'Alltrades 08-11-2004 04:16 PM

The message
from (Steve Harris) contains these words:

Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.


This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still attached
and I'm hoping to improve :-)


- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?


Thanks!


Dig them up, leaving two or three inches of stem, making sure there some
buds there.

Keep them in a ventilated container of dry sand, in a cool place which
will not freeze.

GQT tip from younks ago. Works for me every year. Well, every year there
isn't an unexpectedly early hard frost.

--
Rusty
Open the creaking gate to make a horrid.squeak, then lower the foobar.
http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/hi-fi/

Jaques d'Alltrades 08-11-2004 04:20 PM

The message
from "ex WGS Hamm" contains these words:
"Steve Harris" wrote in message
...


Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.

This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still attached
and I'm hoping to improve :-)

- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?


You don't, you sow new seed every year.


Not if you know what you're doing, you don't.

Runners are a perenniel, but very unhardy.

Each year, if you overwinter the roots in sand (or similar - I guess
vermiculite would do), you get a growing number of shoots from the base,
so instead of the single vine you get from a bean, you get several stems
the next year, and a whole bunch of them the following year, and so-on.

Not only do you get more beans that way, but you get them a great deal
earlier too.

--
Rusty
Open the creaking gate to make a horrid.squeak, then lower the foobar.
http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/hi-fi/

bigboard 08-11-2004 05:10 PM

Tim Challenger wrote:

On Mon, 08 Nov 2004 15:30:18 +0000, bigboard wrote:

ex WGS Hamm wrote:


"Steve Harris" wrote in message
...
Last year, I dug up 3 runner bean plants, trimmed them to 3" of stem,
planted them in a pot of multipurpose compost, put it in an unheated
bedroom and left them. They died.

This year, a have them in a pot with about a dozen leaves still
attached and I'm hoping to improve :-)

- Should I chop them down to 3" again?
- Should I water them once a month?
- Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark?

You don't, you sow new seed every year.


Runner beans are a perennial in their natural environment, not an annual.
It is therefore perfectly possible to keep them alive for more than one
year.


So what *is* their natural environment. Maybe we can help Steve to
recreate the right conditions.


"Runner beans are native to the high elevation mountains of Central America.
They have been domesticated for more than 2000 years by natives of the
region, but wild relatives of the runner bean still occur in Guatemala and
Mexico, where they grow in cool, partially shaded valleys in mixed pine-oak
forests."

How you'd go about recreating that in your back garden, I've no idea!

--
"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to
die in."
-- George McGovern


David Hill 08-11-2004 08:44 PM

Steve asked ".... Should I chop them down to 3" again?
Should I water them once a month?
Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark? ....."

Store them as you would Dahlia tubers.
I have always found that the 2nd year they are not as good as the first
year, but they are earlier. I would treat them as "ground beans", that is
take the tops out of the shots when they are about 12 to 15 inches high, you
will get earlier beans than if they are left to climb, though they will be
curved as they will be in contact with the ground.


--
David Hill
Abacus nurseries
www.abacus-nurseries.co.uk





Janet Galpin 08-11-2004 11:21 PM

The message
from "David Hill" contains these
words:

Steve asked ".... Should I chop them down to 3" again?
Should I water them once a month?
Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark? ....."


Store them as you would Dahlia tubers.
I have always found that the 2nd year they are not as good as the first
year, but they are earlier. I would treat them as "ground beans", that is
take the tops out of the shots when they are about 12 to 15 inches high, you
will get earlier beans than if they are left to climb, though they will be
curved as they will be in contact with the ground.



--
David Hill
Abacus nurseries
www.abacus-nurseries.co.uk



I have had them survive in the ground perhaps three or four years ago
and, as far as I remember, it wasn't a particularly mild winter.
I presume this is not to be counted on though, and I agree that they are
earlier but not as good.
Janet G



Angus White 09-11-2004 12:28 AM


"Janet Galpin" wrote in message
...
The message
from "David Hill" contains these
words:

Steve asked ".... Should I chop them down to 3" again?
Should I water them once a month?
Keep them warm/cold/wet/dry/light/dark? ....."


Store them as you would Dahlia tubers.
I have always found that the 2nd year they are not as good as the

first
year, but they are earlier. I would treat them as "ground beans", that

is
take the tops out of the shots when they are about 12 to 15 inches

high, you
will get earlier beans than if they are left to climb, though they

will be
curved as they will be in contact with the ground.



--
David Hill
Abacus nurseries
www.abacus-nurseries.co.uk



I have had them survive in the ground perhaps three or four years ago
and, as far as I remember, it wasn't a particularly mild winter.
I presume this is not to be counted on though, and I agree that they are
earlier but not as good.
Janet G


We certainly agree with you but I suppose if you're an expert it could
work,
but we only kept them once and they weren't as good, so we now sow them
every year.
I also suppose it depends where you live as we have quite mild winters in
the south
compared to the cold winters up in Scotland for example.
Angus




Jaques d'Alltrades 09-11-2004 02:37 PM

The message
from Janet Galpin contains these words:

I have had them survive in the ground perhaps three or four years ago
and, as far as I remember, it wasn't a particularly mild winter.
I presume this is not to be counted on though, and I agree that they are
earlier but not as good.


One spare plant I had planted to grow up the ablutions block wall
survived last winter, and though the top of the root was killed, it
sprouted from the deep and appeared sometime in July, bearing a
reasonable crop.

--
Rusty
Open the creaking gate to make a horrid.squeak, then lower the foobar.
http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/hi-fi/

Jaques d'Alltrades 09-11-2004 02:41 PM

The message
from "Angus White" contains these words:

I have had them survive in the ground perhaps three or four years ago
and, as far as I remember, it wasn't a particularly mild winter.
I presume this is not to be counted on though, and I agree that they are
earlier but not as good.
Janet G


We certainly agree with you but I suppose if you're an expert it could
work,
but we only kept them once and they weren't as good, so we now sow them
every year.
I also suppose it depends where you live as we have quite mild winters in
the south
compared to the cold winters up in Scotland for example.


I have found that as long as you plant them in well-prepared soil and
water them in well, like you would with a bare-rooted tree, the crop
exceeds that of a first-year bean, and the quality is no different.

If I get round to it, I'll try a controlled experiment planting both in
as like conditions as I can manage.

--
Rusty
Open the creaking gate to make a horrid.squeak, then lower the foobar.
http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/hi-fi/

David W.E. Roberts 11-11-2004 09:04 AM


"Jaques d'Alltrades" wrote in message
k...
snip
Runners are a perenniel, but very unhardy.

Each year, if you overwinter the roots in sand (or similar - I guess
vermiculite would do), you get a growing number of shoots from the base,
so instead of the single vine you get from a bean, you get several stems
the next year, and a whole bunch of them the following year, and so-on.

Not only do you get more beans that way, but you get them a great deal
earlier too.


Which prompts the next question:

if you get a bunch of roots with several shoots, can you divide this to get
several plants, or is it still a single stem with a lot of shoots low down?

Lifting and dividing your beans each year would be a slightly different way
of growing beans :-)

Cheers

Dave R



Jaques d'Alltrades 11-11-2004 12:51 PM

The message
from "David W.E. Roberts" contains these words:

Not only do you get more beans that way, but you get them a great deal
earlier too.


Which prompts the next question:


if you get a bunch of roots with several shoots, can you divide this to get
several plants, or is it still a single stem with a lot of shoots low down?


You don't. They form a fleshy lump with radiating fleshy roots, a bit
like a rhubarb crown (but smaller), but unlike rhubarb, all the next
year's growth comes from the centre.

I've never kept them long enough to discover whether they can be
propagated by division, but after three years, they can't.

Lifting and dividing your beans each year would be a slightly different way
of growing beans :-)


Certainly not each year...

But why bother? Plant the previous year's roots for an early crop, and
plant some beans later for a late one. I took what is probably the last
picking from my runners this morning.

--
Rusty
Open the creaking gate to make a horrid.squeak, then lower the foobar.
http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/hi-fi/


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