Friday, 26 April 2013

Scarlet Runners

These 'Scarlet Runner' seeds have been passed down through my family, from father to son, for generations. Genetically they must be at least 150 years old, but I suspect considerably older.

As non-F1 seeds they can be kept from season to season. A few beans were always left on the vine for the seeds to be kept for the following year.

I used to grow them, but in recent times they have become almost redundant; the French dwarf beans being much preferred for the table.

However, I've just found these few 'Magnon family' seeds, and will grow some (if indeed they will still grow) simply to save the seed from being lost; a sort of one-man seed bank.  

I do find Scarlet Runners a little uninteresting and stringy, but I'm not going to allow myself to be the one who lets the seeds die out. I shall sow a few today; they look as if they still might grow. My fingers are crossed.

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  1. Fingers crossed that they will grow - I was once given some runner bean seed that had been kept going since WWII - they did fine.

  2. They look in good condition. Try soaking some in water overnight before sowing.

  3. It's funny how some vegetables have very fast names - like F1s, Rocket and Greyhound lettice.

  4. What a fret piece of family history....keep it going for the grand kids!Harvey can have scarlet runner vines growing up his tree house ladder....he can feel like Jack.

  5. I do hope they grow for you so they can be passed on down the line. I do the same with my grandfather’s geraniums, making cuttings every spring so the line can be shared with family in future. I think every gardener has a bit of history like your beans.

  6. good luck with the planting! How wonderful to carry on such a long family tradition and seed line. That's pretty remarkable.

  7. I think Scarlet runners are such pretty beans, although the ones i grow here are black and pink speckled ones. The hummingbirds visit when i plant Scarlet runners as they are attracted to red flowers (so i've heard. We also have jewelweed aplenty here, and they love that).

    Even if don't eat many of them, i also like that they fix nitrogen in the soil, like all bean plants. They also trellis easily and offer some shade if i want to grow lettuce in high summertime and not have it bolt right away.

  8. What a sheltered life I've lead... I wasn't aware of these beans. This will be my first year trying to grown runner beans so I wish you and I equal amounts of luck in our quest!


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