The Cottage Smallholder

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Best Runner Beans Tips And Secrets

runner beans and flowersI went down to get some unseasoned logs from the bottom of the garden at dusk. These keep the fire damped down well in the wood burner once it has got going and has produced a good thick layer of hot embers.

Through the gloom I spotted that there was a final flush of runner beans hanging on the canes. A week ago, I’d been willing the doll-sized beans to grow. But, getting back after dark, I hadn’t visited the kitchen garden for a while and had forgotten all about them.

Now we have a final sizeable harvest. Enough to freeze for Christmas Day lunch, some to eat this evening with our duck in plum sauce. The rest are earmarked for some Oded Schwartz fruit and vegetable Piccalilli. I love this gentle version of the pickle and it’s a great way of adding a little turmeric to our diet.

We could eat runner beans every day. We never tire of them. Last month I was given a hot tip from Maurice who helps out at the butcher’s on a Friday and Saturday. His primum mobile is his quarter acre allotment.

When I crossed his palm with a small pack of home smoked bacon he smiled and suddenly opened up.
“We’ve been eating tomatoes until they’re coming out of our ears.”
“We got blight on our outdoor ones.”
“You have to take action early and study the weather, especially in July. Those warm wet muggy nights are lethal. I spray to protect rather than treat.”
I enviously imagined his feast of tomatoes.

“I’m picking a regular kilo of runner beans a day at the moment,” chortled Maurice.

I’d thought that ours were cropping well. He leant across the glass display case and confided in a low voice, “Let you into a secret. Next year, grow White Lady. They’re rock solid and crop well.”

I was wondering how I’d remember the variety when he added,
“Do you think that you’ll be able to remember that?”
My brain whirled.
“Of course.  White Lady? That’s me!”

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  1. We put fleece on our beans and they’re still surviving – but no more flowers or pollination.

    I prefer white seeded varieties. Our June sowing of Mergoles got slugged while we were away, so we’re eating Czar

  2. The latest edition of my gardening porn arrived a few days ago and there, in the “Customer Favourite Bean Collection”section, were White Lady runner beans. The T&M catalogue also came with a warning that if I didn’t order some seeds this would be my last catalogue. I think maybe I’ll order some as Christmas presents for my sisters – seems a shame to waste a £5 voucher and I’m still so far down the list for an allotment there is no point ordering for myself yet.

  3. samantha winter

    You know I didn’t grow runner beans this year and everybody round here had bumper crops. I’m going to prepare some beds for them this Autumn (if it ever stops raining). I used to drive past an allotment everyday and they opened up a trench in the Autumn and used it like a compost bin until it was full of veg peelings and things, then they covered it news paper and a bit of earth to stop it all blowing away. Seemed to work for them. I”ve added white lady to list for next year.

  4. Our runner bean crop was dismal this year – as was our French bean crop, our tomato crop, blah di blah di blah. Some soil enrichment definitely needed, I feel! I’ve already told Zaz he’s got to pick up Sophia from riding next week so he can load up with well-rotted horse manure to improve our chances next year! I’ll definitely order some white lady, though – thanks very much for the tip.

  5. Jane aka:aromatic

    Maurice sounds a sweetheart…. nothing like some good gardening tips… and thank you for sharing them! I have marked White Lady on my to purchase seed list. Imagine the tips you could get if you crossed his palm with a large pack of home smoked bacon …….

    Happy Weekend!!

    Jane xxx

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