Tag Archives: Væres Venner Community Garden

Mini-glut of runner beans

The climate is such here that starting runner beans / blomsterbønner (Phaseolus coccineus) in mid-May they normally aren’t ready to harvest until September and the first frosts in October usually stop their development. Growing seed to maturity is also a challenge in many years, so it’s difficult to select better and earlier varieties more suited to my climate. Early October and we are only just managing to eat all the runner beans. Only once in the almost 40 years I’ve been growing them here was there such a big harvest that I had to preserve them. Not having a freezer, they were salted for later use. These were used in a fish soup this week, sliced using an English runner bean shredder! I grew two varieties this year, the heirloom Painted Lady with bicoloured red and white flowers and red flowered Firestorm with very long stringless beans. Firestorm was a little later. They were transplanted outside at home and in the Americas part of the World Garden at the Væres Venner Community Garden.

Broad Bean Diversity contributes to Resilience

Broad beans (favas / bondebønner) will easily cross with other varieties that are growing nearby.  In order to keep a variety pure, you need to isolate them physically. I’ve chosen a different strategy and manage to maintain a mix of different bean colour and size forms by selecting for these characteristics every autumn. This automatically gives different flower colours too (broad beans are beautiful enough to be included in the edimental category and are also edi-ento-mentals as they are also extremely popular with bumblebees). Here are my selections which I made yesterday after drying the beans for storage.

Each form will be stored separately and each variety will be planted close to each other in a large block of beans containing many different forms! I think that diversity within a species also contributes to a good harvest with better bean set. I have never had a crop failure using my own home saved mix of beans. I don’t offer the different forms as named varieties, but as a mix or composite “Væres Venner* Mix” through the KVANN / Norwegian Seed Savers yearbook (kvann.no) in February so that others can also select for separate forms!
*Væres Venner is the community garden where most are grown.
See also this post showing the diversity of flowers that produced these beans: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=26183