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West Midlands, United Kingdom Gb

How can i identify these runeer beans? I was given a handful of mixed runner beans, some are black some are white/cream and the rest are like a brown/tan with black markings. I know there are lots of varieties but i thought you might be able to give me any clues. Thanks



Beans which are pure black or white/cream are far more likely to be climbing French beans rather than runners. I am not aware of many genuine runners that are anything else than brown flecked with black, and rather larger than the others.
In fact, they are a different variety, runners being Phaseolus coccineus and French beans Phaseolus vulgaris.

The only way you can be sure is by germinating some of each of the beans you have been given. Why not grow a few of each and then when you discover the ones you like most and that grow best in your garden, collect the beans for sowing next year.

In general terms climbing French beans are more drought resistant and flourish even in dry weather, while runner beans crop later and need much more humidity in the soil. As for taste, the French think runner beans not worth the effort and sell the seed as ornamentals, not that I agree with them!

20 Feb, 2010

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