SCARLET RUNNER BEAN (Phaseolus coccineus) is a stunning heirloom grown in America as early as 1750. Very vigorous and good producer with brilliant red flowers that become 6"-8" fat juicy, slightly fuzzy, richly flavored pods. The very large seeds are dusky pink with black mottling. Many grow this runner bean for its decorative value - and because it attracts hummingbirds in droves. If growing for culinary purposes, pick the pods very young and cook thoroughly to eliminate any toxins. 60-90 days. 10 Seeds.
ABOUT RUNNER BEANS: Runner beans have been grown in America as early as 1750, but originated in the mountains of Central America. Vines scramble up just about anything and can reach 18 feet. Grown as annuals, runner beans are actually perennials. Children love to grow extra large bean tee pees with runner beans (using bamboo or long saplings as a base) and they become a beautiful focal in the garden. One interesting aspect is that most vining beans twine counterclockwise, but runner beans twine clockwise. Perennial in some climates, creating large tuberouse roots, but for most of us, treat as an annual. BUT, did you know that at the end of the season you can dig up that large root, store it carefully over the winter, and replant after frost ends, for an early start on the next season. This also gives an important lesson to children about continuity. Hummingbirds LOVE runner beans, as bees and other pollinators, which is a good thing since these beauties must be pollinated. Eat the beans while young and tender, though you can let them go toward the end of season to collect seeds for next season and the dried beans are tasty too. Have to keep the beans picked to keep the brilliant blossoms coming.
MEDICINAL: An infusion of the dried pods is a strong diuretic.
GROWING TIP: All beans and peas are legumes and benefit from "inoculating" with rhizobacteria. These bacteria do the work of taking gaseous nitrogen from the air and "fixing" or concentrating it in pink root nodules which then slough off, adding nitrogen to the soil in a form other plants can take up as a nutrient. Inoculating your beans and peas will increase germination, and the health of your plants, helping them growing large roots and thus healthier plants. Growing pole beans with corn provides an extra shot of nitrogen to the corn, a wonderful natural symbiotic relationship that the Native Americans understood very well. You will see a big difference in overall results. Healthy legumes should also be turned under the soil when production ends as they are excellent green manure for your next crops.