Keeping Beans At An Arms’ Length

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by Sjoerd, Aug 25, 2023.

  1. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Runner beans— the variety seems endless. There are so many different types with different characteristics. The types two that we grew this year were were more or less stringless varieties— one red-flowering and the other, white-flowering.

    We are fond of runner beans and they do so well on our allotment. They are prolific producers and quite tasty to eat, if you can find them. What do I mean by that?

    In spite of their good qualities, they have one quality that is not positive— all beans have this to a degree; however, Runners have this negative personality flaw a tad worse than others. The trait of which I speak is, lurking.

    Lurking is infuriating to the gardener. It is negative on so many levels. You ask yourself (and your mate) the same question every season…time after time, day after day. At one point, it has you so far that you begin making comments out loud to the beans.

    Yesterday my Bride let a few words fly when we were harvesting runners.
    “I’ve been here three times already, there were no beans here, now what do I see? Three beans”!

    Me: “How can they just appear while you have already checked? How can they just grow in a matter of moments”?

    Her:”They didn’t ‘just grow in a matter of moments’ (scratching the air with two fingers on each hand, whilst grasping picked beans), they grew as I was standing here looking at them!!! It doesn’t get any more arrogant than this”!

    We developed the habit of checking after each other's picking areas in the hopes of being more thorough, still there are always some that escape time after time, day after day…until finally they give themselves away by growing too large. In this case, one can remove the mature beans inside the pods and eat them. This is very time-consuming in an already busy harvest schedule.

    No one really knows how they do it; no, no one knows the full story. I have made some observations though: Sometimes they turn sideways, so the picker can only see the narrow edge of the bean. With shade and plenty of foliage it makes it difficult to see and recognise as a bean. Others twist and contort to wrap around and hide behind poles, creep intp narrow, dark holes, stretch out flat on top of apex axis poles connecting the wigwams. Sometimes they grow downwards, detect light and then hand a U-turn and actually grow away from the light. You can see some that I have isolated, displaying their lurking prowess.
    53F4CD98-6223-46B6-9ABE-1FE723D07DFA.jpeg

    Yes, I have been able to identify some of their tricks, but there are no doubt many more tricks that I am not smart enough to detect.

    Darwin is at work here though. The dumb Runners grow long and straight with their flat sides facing outwards. They get picked and eaten— no chance to reproduce their kind. The ones that adapt, develop a hiding and avoidance strategy…their goal is to reach a dry-brown unfit for human consumption maturity. Of course, Darwin works for me too— when these dried beans are discovered at mulching time, I set them apart and plant them the following season.

    Hang on a minute— but is this benefiting me, or is it actually their end-game win? I mean I plant the successful lurkers, making more lurkers. Sheesh! And I thought I was smarter than a bean. How have I managed to live so long?

    Right then, the title. The title promised something different than this whining loser’s epistle. Here are three losers, long and straight…-ish.
    D3F39F8F-8148-446C-BDBD-79BDA5823DA6.jpeg

    They would win no prizes at a competition, but they are not bad for regular gardening. The final pic in this series connects with the title:
    E11E434C-5D2C-417C-83E7-9169325E8E6D.jpeg
     
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  3. Daniel W

    Daniel W Young Pine

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    Great story, @Sjoerd! Impressive beans, too!

    Here, zucchinis lurk. None on the plant one day, a then a couple of ten-pounders the next. Sneaky vegetables!
     
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  4. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Oh Daniel— I know about those courgettes too! They are really bad. The more the plant sprawls, the more opportunities they have to lurk. It is so disappointing to discover one that has gone too far. Yes, your description describes their nature exactly. Darn things.

    I’m glad you liked the story.
     
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  5. Melody Mc.

    Melody Mc. Young Pine

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    This is a fabulous posting :)

    And holy schmoly...what a BEAN!! Is that long one on the bride's arm ( I recognize the watch :) )one that you would keep for seed? Or one that you would eat? I've never seen a bean like that - what fun to grow.
     
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  6. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Heh, heh, heh— I lurve your posts. We had a chuckle as I read aloud to my Bride.
    I did not eat this one, for it was too old/mature. The pod would be to rough and stringy. I have a brand new bag of seeds so I composted it, otherwise I would have dried it and taken my chances with cross-pollination. Those Runner beans are indeed fun to grow, but they are best eaten when harvested a bit young. My Bride says, “ The younger, the better”. I think she has a gourmet complex.

    You are spot on that the arm is my Bride’s , watch and all.
     
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  7. Pacnorwest

    Pacnorwest Hardy Maple

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    Sjoerd never seen a bean that long… wow enter in the Guiness book of records,..
     
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  8. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Ha ha. It is the bean type. Not really anything special. You can’t eat them this big because the pods are fibrous, but the beans inside can be. Folks grow them like this for show, but don’t eat them. Thanks for your kind words.
     
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