Could lack of pollination be the reason they don't always set seed? Runners are mainly pollinated by bumblebees, as honeybees can't reach the nectar. Sometimes the flowers are bitten through at the back, which enables the honeybees (which don't do the biting) to reach it, but of course doesn't lead to pollination. So what's on your runners? The same question could be asked about broad beans. Again, it's mainly bumbles which do the business, as honeybees are only attracted to very large stands. I sometimes get poor pollination, but I'm not really sure of the reason at the moment.
I don't think so, we have a pretty healthy pollinator population. I am the only farm around, surrounded by second growth deciduous woodland and old hayfields that are slowly reverting to woodland. There is lots of wild habitat and there are many species of wild bees, from the tiny sweat bees all the way up through medium and large bumbles and lots of carpenter bees, which are the largest bee we have as far as I know. The runnerbeans get swarmed by the bigger bees. My neighbor has a small apiary as well, with 5 or 6 hives. I don't think pollination is the problem.
Post by 12540dumont on Mar 3, 2014 12:21:14 GMT -5
Well, that sure is interesting. I read somewhere, I can't find it now... that runners won't set if the temps get too high. Which is why you'll get more beans if you get them from roots. How hot does it actually get in the summer at your farm? When we had the triple digits, my runners stopped making beans, but started up again a few weeks later.
I have hummers in my runners and bumblers. Really interesting, I was out digging and a bumblebee kept buzzing me. They have never buzzed me before. Since I'm allergic, I took this seriously and moved away. Every time I came back, the bumbler buzzed me again. Finally I gave up. Then I figured out the back of my shirt (an Italian Festa Shirt) graphics of a farm when viewed from a few feet away looks like a giant flower. Really, it's not often other species try to pollinate me. (Well there was that black lab, who really liked my shoes).
Do you think the bumblers are getting aggressive? Let me know when you plan to plant, and I'll sort out the beans before then
I was out digging and a bumblebee kept buzzing me. They have never buzzed me before. Since I'm allergic, I took this seriously and moved away. Every time I came back, the bumbler buzzed me again. Finally I gave up. Then I figured out the back of my shirt (an Italian Festa Shirt) graphics of a farm when viewed from a few feet away looks like a giant flower.
Ive found that i get bumped into by bumblebees when i wear my blue Tshirt
I'm getting quite eager to start this project, still have months away till planting time, and many more beans promised to be added to the project.
I decided that to really broaden the genetic base of this mass cross I should try and include some center-of-origin genetics if I could get my hands on some. Did a GRIN request for 6 accessions from Central America, especially Guatemala. I'm not certain if these will even grow here, there may be photoperiod issues etc. But I'm hopeful that they may contribute something.
They definitely are interesting, they seem to average much smaller than European runnerbeans, but since I was only given 4 beans of the 5 accessions they did send I don't have a lot of data. Here's a couple of them. The big bean above the ruler is Bianco de Spagna from Italy.
There are several similar white bean varieties; the biggest I've seen was around an inch and a half long. They need warmer temperatures than other runners to get started, so I'm a bit hesitant about adding them to my mix. The other beans look interesting.
Post by YoungAllotmenteer on Mar 16, 2014 15:18:16 GMT -5
Robert, I had no trouble with RealSeeds 'Gigantes' last year, slower than Holly's Grex and put in later but a good showing given the less than ideal timing of planting. Let me know if you want some seed.
Also known as 'rowan57'.
Growing on Fen Peat, next to no pests, one or two key diseases.
From what I can tell, there are a ton of big white runners from all over Europe. They are more popular in southern and eastern Europe but there are lots and lots of them. Hard to say if they are all different varieties or just different strains/names for the same basic thing.
With the colored runners you can see the variations in the seed coat patterns, colors and tones. It is difficult to say how much of this is genetic and how much environmental, but the variations are clear. How do you differentiate one large seeded runner from another. I doubt it can be done just by looking at the seeds.