Runner bean varieties

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Pawty
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Runner bean varieties

Postby Pawty » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:33 pm

Hi,

I tried a couple of varieties the year. Polestar was good - long tasty beans, although a bit stringy now.

However, I also tried a variety called Tender Star ( assuming the beans would be tender). The plants produced lots of beans, but they were small (4-5 inches), tough and stringy. Very disappointed with them. Just wondered if anyone else had tried this variety and had the same results or if it was just down to growing conditions. The polestar were started in rootrainers while the tender star were sown directly into the ground at around the same time.

Does anyone have a reliable absolute favourite? There are so many varieties on the market to choose from......

Thanks

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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby John » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:28 pm

Hello Pawty
In a posting on another topic Johnboy recommended Wisley Magic. I already had a couple of other varieties so I didn't try this one. It will certainly be on my shopping list for next year though.
This year my main runner has been Celebration. It grew well and has given us loads of near stringless, tender beans - also very few blossom dropping problems despite the weather.
Regards
John
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:21 pm

I've grown many different varieties including some of the new ones, but now just grow the old variety Painted Lady because I like the pretty red and white flowers. It is tender and stringless if you pick it before it gets large and is very prolific, and it costs me nothing because I save seeds from it every year.
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby oldherbaceous » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:33 am

Dear Pawty, I have also tried many varieties over the years, and my favourites are Enorma and the modern variety, Moonlight.
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby Johnboy » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:33 am

Hi John.
I am very glad you mention Wisley Magic because I am having a wonderful crop this year. I have lost count of the number of runner bean varieties I have tried over the years but I can truly say that Wisley Magic has out performed anything else I have ever grown.
The set of beans has been incredible with up to 10 beans on a truss and they are growing up to 15 inches. They do need some careful observation as the grow very long and slim initially but they soon start the get a bit of meat on them and it is then that is the best time to pick this might be as soon as two days. I have been picking on the basis of taking the largest on the truss and to be very careful I have been snipping them off with scissors to prevent damage to the rest on the truss. I have only had to water twice this year as our rain pattern here is very different to the sunny south. This year we have had rainfall followed by periods of prolonged sunshine.
Sincerely,
JB.
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby dan3008 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:40 am

Personally, I'm a fan of painted lady, and scarlet empire (i think that's what its called). I've also tried a locally bread strain of white lady.

Wisley magic didn't do well for me. Obviously just didn't get on well with my soil
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby Primrose » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:08 am

I always grow a few Enorma which do well for me and this year Moonlight have cropped well too. i think the secret with all varieties is to pick them before they grow too big and start to thicken up.

I actually prefer climbing French beans and after various experiments with yellow and purple varieties always come back to my favourite Cobra but never seem to get as high yields per plant as I do with runners so grow both to get enough to freeze to keep a supply going through winter months. Do other growers of Cobra find the same tendency? Also the plants generally seem to be a lot more fragile than runner beans.

Incidentally a lot of my late runners are now just shrivelling up rather than developing into healthy beans. Is this due to fluctuating night time temperatures ? I've tried to keep them adequately watered.
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby Diane » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:37 pm

This year I am mostly growing Lady Di. I keep my own seeds each year. Stringless and plentiful no matter what the weather.
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby robo » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:12 pm

We are not lovers of runner beans we tried lady di a couple of years ago to see if our taste has changed over the years but not are far as runners are concerned but lady di where brilliant no matter how long I left them they did not go stringy, French beans we like, the amount I'm getting this year is unbelievable considering the trouble I had getting them to germinate ,I must have dropped one in the pollytunnel when planting them I have one bean in there it's producing enough beans to keep the wife and myself in all the beans we could wish for
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby Westi » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:53 pm

Opportunistic Post!

Last year I grew Moonlight & Firestorm and were very pleased with both. This year the Firestorm from the start of growth had a red streak on the bean, which was unusual but it is red flowered, but they turned out very tough skinned & the seeds grew very quickly so they were like end of season when the Moonlight was still tender.

I've found Lady Di a good choice, very prolific and slower to go starchy but interested in Wisley Magic, not the first time I've heard enthusiastic reports on this variety!

Westi
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Re: Runner bean varieties

Postby Pawty » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:00 pm

Thanks All, I'll have a look through my rather large seed collection and see what I have, and what I may need to look out for. It's really interesting how the same varieties work for some and not others. Like you say - down to different conditions.

To be fare, the French beans have been very good this year also, but my husband wouldn't forgive me if we didn't grow runners.

I tried kidney beans a couple of years ago - it was really difficult to get the seeds, and to be honest wasn't worth it, but good to give it a go.

Pawty
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