Zeedman, thanks for mentioning the mosquito netting, I just found some for cheap at Walmart, didn't see any tulle though. I will definitely be giving this a shot with my runners and cowpeas next spring. I'm guessing that you would be right concerning using row cover over cowpeas. From my one year of experience of growing cowpeas they do great with heat and humidity.
Paquebot, the seeds are larger than the sunset runner beans are and have the same shape, just a little fatter. They're a lot larger than any kidney bean that I've ever seen and do not have the kidney bean shape. It seems as if my Canellinis are P. coccineus.
Post by stillandrew on Nov 6, 2013 15:37:15 GMT -5
I know I am a little late on this thread, but I just signed up as a member. I wanted to say something about isolation distances without caging as I have a lot of experience with growing multiple varieties of runner beans.
The industry standard is to isolate P. coccineus by 1/4 mile because they do cross a lot and cleaning them up after a cross is a pain, unlike cleaning up P. vulgaris crosses, which is easier.
I isolate by 500 feet when there are obstructing plants or buildings between the varieties and I have had good results. However I have tried 300 feet with lots of plants between, including some tall corn and sorghum, and I have had 2-5 percent crossing.
It is best to play it safe with 500+ feet or alternate day cage them. I suspect if you don't alternate you might end up with low pollination, as runner flowers like to be visited by insects. I would be interested to know if anyone here has observed self incompatibility in runners. Also, be careful with some non-UV treated mosquito nets because direct sunlight will make them brittle in a few months and you might have a big mess on your hands
Post by stillandrew on Nov 9, 2013 20:02:34 GMT -5
Interesting link. Thanks samyaza.
I have personally seen two instances of P. coccineus crossing into P. vulgaris mothers. Although it is very rare, it is obvious when your P. vulgaris patch has one plant with red flowers. It is not visible in F1 seed, but the F2 seed can show red flowers and scarlet runner like patterns on the seed. That is only when it is a scarlet runner type crossed in. It would be harder to notice if it was a white seeded white flowered P. coccineus. Both crosses were observed in P. vulgaris pole types. I think pole beans tend to be a little more promiscuous.
This is an interesting thread. I am really excited to see that Andrew has joined HG I hope he starts contributing a lot. Adaptive Seeds is a fav company of Oxbow Farm.
It was suggested to me by Carol Deppe that interspecific crosses in general, and interspecific bean crosses especially, are easier in certain climates than others. She was speculating that the cool, ocean-moderated climate of the PNW is very conducive to these crosses because of cool, mild, humid spring weather. This (in her opinion) allows for delayed flower senescence allowing time for a very slow growing pollen tube (like you might expect from interspecies pollen or from self pollen in a flower with self-incompatibility) to have time to reach an ovary and create a viable embryo.
Most of the rest of North America has much shorter, harsher, spring weather and flowers tend to wither quickly, making these crosses rarer.
That being said, I don't want to hijack the thread. I have only ever grown one runner at a time until this year. I threw everything I had together except for Blackcoat and am going for a runner mass cross to attempt to combine genes and find one that will bear decently in our climate. Here runners generally grow well and flower abundantly but the pods all abort due to hot weather. So I'm looking to try a Lofthouse style landrace runner, no care for flower or seed color, just good seed and green bean production.
This thread is interesting. As far as hijacking the thread gos, Oxbow, I don't see why not. It could make the thread all the more interesting!
If this upcoming summer turns out to be to be as hot as this year's, it sounds like there may be some trouble when it comes to runners. Spring this year seemed virtually inexistent due to how fast it heated up. I haven't even tried runners yet but have my two varieties planned for next year, along with some blue speckled teparies and limas. I have not had a cross between my P.Vulgaris beans and my limas yet, I grow them next to each other.
I think that I have a pretty good understanding of what a landrace is. But what are the benefits? Does a landrace have a better chance of growing in a harsh-to-them climate than a non-landrace type of the same species?
So Andrew is the head of adaptive seeds? I have not placed an order from there yet but have been at the website a time or two. Nice selection of varieties and I like how your website is set up, Andrew!
Post by Joseph Lofthouse on Dec 18, 2013 13:14:14 GMT -5
To me the main benefit of landraces is that they allow me to reliably harvest a crop. On many warm-weather crops I get around a 75% to 95% failure rate when planting commercial varieties. My landraces are reliable year after year.
The other benefit of landraces to me is that they simplify seed saving and reduce record-keeping. Instead of saving 50 varieties of tomatoes, and trying to keep them pure, and maintaining all those records, I maintain two landraces: Cherry tomatoes and canning tomatoes. I harvest and plant them in bulk. I might plant a couple hundred varieties of tomatoes per year, but I only keep two bottles of seed.
The other thing I really like about landraces is that because they are genetically diverse, they can adapt to my conditions and way of doing things. I don't fertilize my fields. No problem, because year after year I have been selecting for plants that grow best in my soil just as it is without fertilizer. I live in a very arid climate and only irrigate once a week. Again, No Problem, because year after year I am selecting for plants that thrive on once a week irrigation. I am a horrid weeder. Not a big deal, because I am consistently a horrid weeder, and any plant that is going to do well in my garden has to germinate quickly, and grow robustly so that it out-competes the weeds. I guess in summary, I love landraces because they become intimately entwined with the fields they are grown in and with the farmer's way of doing things.
I forgot to mention taste... I pretty much taste every plant before saving seeds from it. This has skewed my landraces in the direction of fantastic (to me) taste that is simply not available in commercial inbred seed.
I have been trying for years to grow runner beans, because I have fond memories of runner beans with my grandfather. Alas, year after year they have failed to produce seed for me. Last spring I planted runners from Holly, which had been cross pollinated. About 80% of them failed to reproduce in my garden, but some survived!!! That is great odds for turning runner beans into a survival-of-the-fittest landrace for my garden. I'm expecting a good harvest next summer, and a great harvest the summer after that. Most plants that produced seed only matured one pod. One plant produced about 8 pods of seed!!!! Woo Hoo. I didn't save it separate from the rest (too much work that day), but it is well represented in the genepool. Hummingbirds sure loved the runner bean patch.
Silt/clay, high-altitude, super-arid, sun-drenched, irrigated-desert garden. Cold radiant-cooled nights. ~100 frost free days. Grow most of my own locally adapted landrace seed. GDD10C ~1300. Author of Mother Earth News: Landrace Gardening Blog.
Post by stillandrew on Dec 18, 2013 15:04:49 GMT -5
Thanks for the compliment on our website, blackox.
we have had many years of challenges with runner bean pollination, even here in the Pacific Northwest. I have heard much contradictory information about runner pollination and have still not completely figured it out. Carol told us that she has success planting runners in the beginning of June, so they are flowering when the weather it is warmer. We have had success with this method but it makes them more drought susceptible and I believe they need good soil moisture to pollinate well. However, runners grow so well in England and Ireland so I would expect them to pollinate well in cool weather. It may also have to do a lot with pollinator activity, which can be low on cold or very hot dry days where we are.
Having a lot of genetic variation in the population may help I am guessing, because different varieties respond to the environment differently when it comes to pollination. This is where a landrace Runner seems to be a good idea. Historically, more so than other bean species, I would expect runners to have been predominately mixes or landraces. I have seen landrace runner mixes from Bulgaria, Ireland, Arizona/Mexico and South America. Maybe they became much more finicky once we and the English made pedigrees of them. I say this specifically about runner beans, as P. vulgaris seems to want to avoid crossing and prefers to segregate its diversity into lots of separate inbred lines. Different tactics for different folks.
I expect that good soil moisture during pollination may be be the most helpful factor, but I also expect to be wrong about it. Runner beans are funny that way.
Post by 12540dumont on Dec 19, 2013 13:21:24 GMT -5
I have found that if you can get the root to overwinter, the following year, you will have beans much much earlier. I make no effort to keep my runners from crossing. I have yet to have a runner cross with a vulgaris. However, I have seen many vulgaris crosses. I was told by the bean curator at the Pullman Station, before she retired, that it's difficult with beans to tell if they have crossed. Not all crosses show up in the seed coat. But the root remains true, so if I want just one type, I can dig them up and move them.
This is the first year in 10 that we have had significant freeze, so it will be interesting to see if next Spring my runners are still going from the root.
Just in case, I dug one up and put it in a pot for Steev, just in case we EVER get a rain day.
Andrew, I wish you'd write a bit about you open oak party corn. I have also been very pleased with the seed I have received from you.
Thanks for filling me in on that Joseph. I'm thinking a might try something along the line of a landrace with my southern peas. Just because there are so many pretty colors, might as well have them all!
I live in the north, Dumont, so the ground freezes often during the winter months. I doubt it, but maybe there is a way to overwinter a couple of roots this far north? I'm in Ohio. Maybe a strategically placed cold frame with bails of straw around it?
I just saw that your Elka White poppies have sealed pods, Andrew. Looks like I'm going to have to place an order before spring!
Actually runner beans will cross with common beans occasionally.
There are several self-pollinating varieties of runners available in the UK that have been bred by crossing runners and common beans, and I've heard many accounts of seed seed savers getting common beans with red flowers which are obviously crosses.