This years garden was full of experimentation as we tried many different verities of vegetables. We are in search of hardy, low maintenance, high production types of foods that can be grown in small spaces. In early February I found myself sorting through stacks of seed catalogs in search of the qualities I was after while maintaining the organic open pollinated characteristics that would provide us with true to form seeds for years to come.
In my searches I found myself intrigued by the colorful and insightful pages of the Baker Creek Heirloom catalog. In those pages I found a verity of bean that seemed to display the characteristics that I was after. “Used by native American, large, beautiful, vigorous vines grow over 10′. Flowers are very ornamental, in clusters of the brightest scarlet. Good for snap, shell, or dry beans. The huge seeds are very colorful, violet-purple mottled in black, These beans like fairly cool weather.” said the catalog. So we gave em’ a shot. Here are our results.
The bed was prepared early in the spring using the double dig method which lets the grass that was turned act as a green manure. The seeds were planted in late April.
As the summer months set in the Scarlet Runners growth slowed. They were covered in the scarlet flowers for most the summer only providing a few initial bean pods. Keep in mind we gave the beans no water and they continued to thrive through the July/August drought. This was expected, after all the Scarlet Runner prefers cool weather and it was quite hot during this period of time. As the weather began to cool all the flowers began to set into pods, HUGE pods!
Into November now after many frosts and long after all other beans have died from the weather, the leaves of the Scarlet Runner are finally beginning to show the wear. The pods have been left on to go to seed and dry as they will provide a highly store-able bean that will be used well into the winter months.We have been pulling off pods for the past month or so and there are many more to come. Not to mention the lower pods that the chickens have been stealing.
Overall I could not be happier with the results. What was thought to be a novice to cover the side of the pool deck is showing true promise as a contender in our backyard homestead. With its low maintenance requirements and hardiness the Scarlet Runner has definitely proven itself as not only a beautiful compliment for any garden but a solid choice in most survival or homesteading gardens.
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