heirloom half runner ID?

gene_washdc(zone 5a)April 1, 2006

Back in the mid-70's in south central KY my dad was given a half runner bean that my mom has raised ever since. Now that I have plenty of garden space I want to try it too. Perhaps next year -- if it preforms well in the garden here and I'm able to save ample seed -- I'll use it in trades with other Garden Webbers. But before I start doing that, I want to make sure it's not the same as another bean already out in circulation. I don't want to add to the confusion of names already out there. I'm something of a fig collector, and it seems like every variety has 20 different names, and shares 6 of those with 10 other varieties -- total confusion.

Here's a photo of the bean, "Childers' Half Runner". I've added some other heirlooms alongside for comparison. Of course I know there's hundreds of beans out there and many look similar. But I'm hoping I might get a few replies, like -- "well, it might be x, y, or z, which look kinda like that." Or, "Well, it's certainly not a or b, which are very popular heirlooms that I've grown." Many thanks for all replies!

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gene_washdc(zone 5a)

Took another picture to have more beans to contrast with the "Childers' Half Runner" -- guess there's not much hope of finding its real name, though.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 8:09AM
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Hi Gene,

I thought I had posted a reply. But it never appeared. Guess I didn't do something right.
I don't know if you'll be able to find the original name. You might try calling the Seed Savers Exchange and asking for the contact info of one of their bean curators. CALL! I have never received an answer to a letter.


I understand that staffing makes it a challenge for them to answer correspondence. However, if anyone can help you, I bet the SSE can.

Childer's Half Runner looks to me to be a cutshort, judging by the square ends on the seeds. I have a pole bean with seed that looks identical. We got it from my wife's great aunt, who called it "Tennessee Cutshort." Good luck!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 4:55PM
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gene_washdc(zone 5a)

Hi George -- thanks for the suggestion of contacting SSE and the information about the "Tennessee Cutshort" bean. I joined SSE late last year, I'll check back throught the current catalog to see if anyone is offering TC so I can compare the two side by side.

I think I might wait until after this season is over before contacting SSE directly, to give me the change to observe the growing habits of "Childers' Half Runner" (didn't pay any attention to such things as a kid). It might help in narrowing the field. Gene

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 9:57AM
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Gene, I offer Tennessee Cutshort. Just say the word (and send me $2.00 & your address) and I'll get them right in the mail. E-mail me with the address and I'll get things moving in the next couple of days.

My guess is that there are a good many beans out there with similar seed. That's what I call the "Kentucky Wonder" color! But you are more than welcome to grow out Tennessee Cutshort and compare. At worst, you get to try another good bean : )

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 9:44AM
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gene_washdc(zone 5a)

Thanks George I'll take you up on the offer.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 8:46AM
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gene_washdc(zone 5a)

I received the beans yesterday -- thanks George! Here's a side by side comparison of the two, Tennessee Cutshort (left) and Childers':

There is some similarity with the shape of the two, but of course the color is different. I'm looking forward to growing both this season. Got about half my bean varieties out last weekend, and plan to plant the remaining this weekend.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 8:41AM
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Gene, when you grow them both it will be interesting to observe color of seed. The Tennessee Cutshort seed I sent you is darker than normal because it was 2003 seed (if I recall correctly). When fairly freshly harvested it is much lighter. Good luck!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 12:06PM
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Gene, Rodger, Brook and all,

I have my plantings in and growing for comparison of Childer's Half Runner, Tennesee Cutshort and Ruth Bible. So far they are all doing excellently. I have both Tennessee Cutshort and ChilderÂs Half Runner both on cattle panel trellis (which goes up to about 5 ½ ', and on tripods, and Ruth Bible is on a tripod. This way I can compare height more easily.

Yesterday morning I observed something most interesting. One Childer's Half Runner, from my latter planting, came up albino! Here's a picture. I've never seen this in anything other than corn before this! By evening that plant was toast. Being albino it had no resistance to the sun.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 7:27AM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

That's amazing...I have never seen anything like that...I've never even seen corn do that.

Your bean looks like a really good bean...please keep us posted...I love beans and expecially love a good meaty bean...

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 8:08AM
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George that is interesting and I just observed it saturday while putting down hay on the beans. It was not the Test trio but another bean I planted. I am working tonight but will check on it in the morning if it still is growing I'll get a picture
Here is a picture of the test beans minus Ruth Bible. Ruth Bible I had already set out. The Childers is on the left, Tenn. cutshort in the middle and Some black greasy bean I thought I would grow on the right. ( Thanks George) Also some Scaly bark watermelon thanks to Gary Millwood in Loisville Ky.

I started my beans in peat pots on 23 April due to the dry weather we're having and I wanted to ensure a good start.
This was taken on 11 May the day I set them out in the garden. Rodger

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 9:55PM
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Here is the pic of the albino bean it is a willow leaf butterbean been in my wifes familiy since the 20s

Here is the willow lima showing true leaves note the long slender leaf vice heart shape leaf of other limas

This one is of the childers bean I took it only because one of the guineas layed an egg by it. I guess when you have to go you have to go.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 8:56PM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

Those beans look rather small as compared to the penny. The ones I have would dwarf the penny.Do you still think the're Runner Beans? Reading this thread do you think the SSE would be interested in some of my beans? We still have about 50+ lbs and the wife has about 40 plants in the ground

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 11:16AM
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Jim! Good to "see you!" Sorry I didn't check in sooner.

Your beans are definitely runners. I have a pole going in my garden and so far they are doing great. But runners usually have a hard time setting seed in hot, dry conditions. So I may not see seed until fall.

I'm sure that the SSE would like some of that seed. My preliminary observation is that it is an exceptionally vigorous runner bean. The seed is also much larger than most runner bean seed. I will be sending some seeds to the SSE and can send them a sample, or, if you like, you can do it. Send all the background information you can, if you do. Let me know, okay?


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 2:12PM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

You send the seeds to SSE and if they,or you,need more I will gladly send them. All I know about the seeds I have told you already. If you need I can send what,vocal not documented,again.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 1:54PM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

"runners usually have a hard time setting seed in hot,dry conditions."

I dont know if I had told you previously but in January 06 I sent a lady in Southeast Arizona,near the New Mexico stateline, some beans. She said they grew very well and produced loads of beans. She was very happy with them and was surprised the plants got as large as I stated they would.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 4:06PM
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