Perennial 'String' Beans?
Seriously, yes, sort of. They exist and I can only wonder why on Earth I didn't know sooner. Talk about simple. I am a little upset that I have wasted so much time every year clearing a planting area, fertilizing, and planting seeds to grow my beans. Why not plant something once and enjoy the benefits for years to come? This is just common sense! Well, it is common sense if it actually works out that way. I intend to try this spring though!
These special 'perennial' beans are called scarlet runner beans, but buyer beware! If you don't purchase the correct latin name for the perennial version you will find yourself planting every year as usual. This is exactly what I did the first time I purchased the beans. Foolish me for not doing my research first (one of the things about me I usually am very good at).
You want to buy the Phaseolus Coccineus - not Phaseolus Vulgaris - both of which are titled Scarlet Emperor Runner beans and look EXACTLY the same but aren't.
The Coccineus beans are supposed to grow back every year as a perennial. However, if you aren't careful they can die off in the winter and act like an annual anyway. I read that if you live in zone 7 or greater it's important to mulch over it in the winter to increase the chances of it surviving to come back in the spring.
The vines grow beautiful orange flowers that many simply like as an ornamental. In fact the flowers are so lovely that they are known to attract hummingbirds!
I read that the beans grow rather large and the outsides become rough so if we want to eat them like a string bean (which we do) that it is best to pick them early. However, all is not lost if they do get big because they can be harvested for the beans inside the pod which can be dried and used (eaten) in a variety of ways.
I will plant them for the first time this spring in zone 7 and get back to you this time next year to let you know how they worked out!
Some other basic information:
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Hi there! I'm Kathie, the author behind Creating A Simpler Life blog. I'm excited to share our longterm projects (and planning) toward building our future retirement homestead in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In the meantime I will be sharing all the other little things we do that are part of creating our simpler life!