Gardening Magazine

Runner Beans - a Contrast in Styles

By Mwillis
Like most gardeners and allotmenteers in the UK I grow some Runner Beans every year. In fact, I'd probably go so far as to say that they are THE most popular crop in our gardens. You see them everywhere. Amongst their chief virtues are the fact that they are relatively easy to grow (as long as you can provide slug-protection in their early days), and they provide a good yield from a relatively small space (because they grow mostly upwards rather than sideways).
Runner Beans - a contrast in styles
Over the years I have tried a number of different Runner Bean varieties, including the white-flowered and bicoloured ones, but my favourites are still the good old-fashioned "Scarlet Runner" types like "Scarlet Emperor" (or its descendant "Scarlet Empire", which is even better), "Aintree" and "Red Rum". Last year I grew "Enorma", which was good too.
This year I have two types, "Streamline" and "Tenderstar". The former is a traditional red-flowered type, and the reason I'm growing it is that these were the ones available in large quantities at a good price at the Potato Day I attended in February. I bought a half-pint of them (about 200 seeds), which I shared with my daughter Emma. The other type was provided for me FOC by Marshalls, for review.
"Streamline" had a bad start. Many of its early flowers did not set. It's improved since then, and pods are beginning to form in bigger numbers.
Runner Beans - a contrast in styles
Compared with other varieties I have had - such as the aptly-named "Emorma" last year - the mature pods are not big. They are mostly about 20 - 25cms long. (The chopping-board in my next photo is 33cm long).

Runner Beans - a contrast in styles


 The pods are nice and tender though, and slice easily. The beans inside are pink, with dark gray streaks. Their flavor is pleasantly robust.
"Tenderstar" is completely different. For a start, this is a variety that has been bred from both Runner beans and French beans, and allegedly has the best characteristics of both (e.g. the ability to set pods with bee-pollination). The flowers are bi-coloured, red with a pinkish white.
Runner Beans - a contrast in styles

The pods are short and fat - about 12 - 15cm long:

Runner Beans - a contrast in styles


Initially I was unsure when to pick the "Tenderstar" pods. They didn't look big enough to be fully mature. Then I saw them swelling, with the beans clearly visible inside the pods. This worried me because normally when the beans become so prominent it means they are over-mature and the pods will be tough and unpleasant. So I picked some and tried them, rather apprehensively. I was pleasantly surprised. They sliced easily and the pods were succulent and tender. The beans inside (white) were big, but not tough at all. The flavor is milder - more subtle - than that of the traditional Runner types.

Runner Beans - a contrast in styles


I'm a little concerned about the yield from "Tenderstar" though. So far they have produced far fewer pods than "Streamline", and the plants are nowhere near as vigorous - in fact (unsurprisingly) they look very much like Climbing French Bean plants! The season is far from finished though, and they might have a late surge.
Runner Beans - a contrast in styles

On present evidence I don't think I will be growing "Tenderstar" again though. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I still prefer the traditional Scarlet Runners!

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • What I Wore: Chico’s So Slimming Juliet Pants

    What Wore: Chico’s Slimming Juliet Pants

    I told you that you'd see these pants again very soon! These are the So Slimming Juliet Ankle Pants from Chico's. Chico's reached out a bit ago and asked me to... Read more

    5 hours, 31 minutes ago by   Wardrobeoxygen
  • A Little Time with Apple Watch Series 4

    Little Time with Apple Watch Series

    Over the past 3 years, I’ve authored some of my most in-depth blog posts about each successive version of the iconic Apple Watch since it revolutionised the... Read more

    5 hours, 49 minutes ago by   Fitnessontoast
  • Writers on Location – Amanda Huggins on Japan

    Writers Location Amanda Huggins Japan

    Welcome to the first guest post of the new season, a special one in several ways. It’s the first time Japan has featured in my Writers on Location series, and... Read more

    6 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Isabel Costello
  • Celebrating Gorillas at “the Best Kwita Izina Ever!”

    Celebrating Gorillas “the Best Kwita Izina Ever!”

    Rwanda’s gorilla naming ceremonyGorilla tracking is said to be a “once in a lifetime” experience yet I love this primate encounter more and more each time... Read more

    6 hours, 17 minutes ago by   Diaryofamuzungu
  • Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia 5K Race Recap

    Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia Race Recap

    Kickstart your fall racing season by running a music-filled race in a rockin’ city. Learn all about it in this Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia 5K Race Recap. Read more

    7 hours, 31 minutes ago by   Fitfulfocus
  • I Wanna Try Everything - Ariel is 4!

    Wanna Everything Ariel

    I know I am very slow in keeping up with all these precious growing up videos of the kids, like how this one took me over a year and a half just to complete, bu... Read more

    8 hours, 30 minutes ago by   A Happy Mum
  • Bhutan Tourist Attraction for Family Tour

    Bhutan Tourist Attraction Family Tour

    Bhutan is one of the most amazing places in the world that one can visit for a family vacation. This place is also known by the name of the land of smiles... Read more

    9 hours, 27 minutes ago by   Sharp Holidays