Any pretty flowering beans that will do this??

orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)April 15, 2010

I'm asking what may be a stupid question.. I don't know much about beans, so I just have to ask. I have this lovely birdhouse on a large metal pole. The bottom half is actually two 4 inch poles clamped together, but at about 6 ft high it becomes just the one 4 inch. It's about 15 ft tall total.. I would love to grow some kind of flowering beans up it just for show and effect. Are there any out there that will twine themselves around something this large at the base and get a good way up the pole?

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anney(Georgia 8)

Vining sweet peas or moonflowers or morning glories might all fit the bill. I suspect the pole, if it's metal, would need to be covered with something to give the plants purchase on it and to alleviate some of the heat from it in midsummer. Maybe plastic mesh or string wrapped around the pole, or even strings hanging down from the top of it, would suffice.

Rebsie Fairholm's site can give you some ideas for gorgeous peas if you want to grow some unusual ones. Though she's from Great Britain, some of the peas she features can be purchased in the US.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:18PM
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Hummingbirds came to my Insuks Wang Kong runner beans, and they climbed a trellis to more than 7 feet. Lasted all summer and you get beans, too.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:10PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Scarlet runner beans come immediately to mind, especially Insuks Wang Kong.

Hyacinth beans are another possibility.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 11:43PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Here's a better blog-link for Rebsie's list of gorgeous peas. A short way down the page on the right are links to them under "Heritage Vegetable Reviews", and most include pictures of the blossoms.

You can find some of the varieties in the US.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 9:29AM
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orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)

Thanks everyone!! I already have some scarlet runner and purple hyacinth bean seeds so I will give those a try again. I say again because I have tried twice before to plant them both and nothing has grown at all for me. The first time I just planted the seeds in the soil, watered, etc.. and got nowhere. The second time I knicked the seed before planting. Still nothing.. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:15PM
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Wait till the soil is warm before planting, or use innoculant, or maybe your seed is no longer viable. Test the seed by soaking and test planting in jiffy cups under ideal conditions. If you get sprouts in the jiffy cups, plant them out. If the soaked seeds rot without ever sprouting, buy new seeds. Also if you have grass around the pole, you may have to kill back so it does not compete with the beans or, plant beans in pots around the base.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:22PM
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orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)

Thanks happyday. I got both the scarlet runner and purple hyacinth seeds in trade, so I suppose it's possible they are no longer viable. What I have left after my two failed tries are about 2 years old in my bin, unsure how many years the trader had them.. Is there a basic guideline on how many years they should be good for?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:51PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

They should be viable for about three years, a conservative number.

Here is a link that might be useful: Common Vegetable Seed Viability

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 2:06PM
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Orcas, viability depends on storage conditions. If the seeds got damp, or too hot, they may die sooner than usual, but if kept dry and frozen, may last longer than usual.

Some expert seed savers have resurrected borderline seeds with special chemical treatments. Maybe Zeedman could tell more about that.

It's usually only for very rare varieties though. Hopefully you can get more scarlet runner and purple hyacinth if they all fail the soak and jiffy cup trials.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 2:51PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Bean shelf life depends upon several factors... and if you obtained the beans in trade, chances are that none of those factors is known. They must have been disease free & properly dried to begin with, then stored under cool, dry, dark conditions.

It's not a bad idea to freeze any beans received in trade as a habit... not only because you don't know how old they are, but because the seeds should always be assumed to have weevils. better safe than sorry. Freezing at 0 degrees F. for at least several days will kill the weevils. It may be necessary to dry the beans for a few days first, to ensure that the moisture content is low enough to freeze safely.

So far, I've had good luck storing the majority of my beans in ziplocks, in a dark room with air conditioning. I'm still recording data on the shelf life of my own beans, and their germination has been acceptable for at least 4-5 years, some longer than that. Refrigerated beans will last up to 10 years or more. Sealed containers are important for refrigerated or frozen beans, and the container should be allowed to warm for a day or so before it is opened.

I wouldn't attempt to resurrect near-dead seed unless it was irreplaceable. If that is the case, contact me off-line.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled topic. ;-)

I agree with the recommendations offered so far. Scarlet runner & hyacinth beans would be very attractive. The scarlet runners would bloom earlier, starting about a month or so after planting. There are varieties other than red, such as "Sunset" (pink flowers) or "Painted Lady" (bicolor red & white).

The hyacinth beans would begin much later (late summer), would climb much higher, and have a sweet fragrance. If your seed is dead, you will find several varieties currently being offered by Baker Creek and Kitazawa. Nicking the seed helps; soak it over-night, and plant any which swell. The vines might be able to reach the top of the pole before frost.

If only your zone (and mine!) were a little warmer, sword beans would be great as a pole cover. Their flowers are large, attractive, and fragrant, and the huge pods really eye catching. The vines would probably climb the entire 15 feet, too.

Beans would have trouble twining around a smooth steel pole, so As Anney mentioned, so you might want to run some strings, or attach a long strip of fencing or lattice to the pole.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 10:44PM
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orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)

Thanks a bunch everyone!!! I plan to run 4 to 6 strings from the top of the pole to the ground, and allow the bean vines to grow up on those. Now I just have to decide which ones to get and plant. Perhaps I will try to alternate the seed per string and grow three of each.. Anyone see any issues with that since they will each have there own string to cling onto? I'm not intending to eat the bean.. (Considering they will be right under 20 fully occupied bird homes, I don't see myself EVER feeling like I could get them clean enough.. LOL!!) I just want to dress up the area a little, and maybe give my hummers another treat to boot... thanks again everybody your the best.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 12:09AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

'I'm not intending to eat the bean'... even so, if you go for runner beans, you still need to pick them. If you don't pick them they will stop bothering to flower. They'll reckon their job is done. We don't get humming birds here but I understand they like runner bean flowers. Also if you go for runners you could start them in pots and transplant - then you will avoid their being eaten by slugs etc before they get a chance. If you over water them after sowing they will rot. Do you think that might have happened to your failed attempts? I keep my own runner bean seed and it survives sitting in a jam jar in a hot kitchen between harvest and sowing so it's pretty tough.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 12:23PM
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orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)

flora_uk - It's possible over watering was a problem because the rain's get heavy here sometimes, but I am going to give it another try this year. I have obtained some new seed. I don't have an peat pots, and didn't think they would like to be transfered out of regular pots, so I have been waiting for the right time to plant directly in my area... Thanks for the heads up on keeping them picked, I will make sure to do so since I want them to keep flowering for the hummers.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:18PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Don't worry about peat pots. I never use them for anything. Runner beans will transplant perfectly happily out of any sort of pot. I make the earliest sowings indoors in modules and then plant out when the weather is suitable. That way I can gain 2 or 3 weeks on direct sowing. I direct sow some later on for a continuous crop.

And if you will be picking the beans anyway, I really would urge you not to waste a delicious vegetable and to eat some. Pick them young and tender, before the beans are well defined through the skin of the pod. Cook them any way you would normally do green beans.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 12:19PM
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