Posts Tagged ‘runner beans’

And The Winner of Mr Fothergill’s Longest Runner Bean Competition Is…

October 23rd, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Congratulations go to June Saddington who has grown the winning pod – measuring an impressive 62.3cm! Alison Cartwright gained 2nd place with a 61cm long bean and David Graney gained 3rd place with a pod of 53cm.

In April 2018, we announced our quest to find the longest runner bean in the UK. Mr Fothergill’s Facebook and Twitter followers were asked to share pictures of their runner beans growing, where they could get spot prizes every month. To have a chance to win the main prizes they were asked for images of the longest beans with a tape measure showing the length.

It all started with Mr Fothergill’s staff competition for the ‘Year of the Bean’ and the introduction of new and exclusive Runner Bean Guinness Record in 2017. There was great interest when the competition was announced. The winning bean that year was 47.2 cm long.

This year’s winners come from around the UK and used various ways to succeed.

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June Saddington said: ‘‘I grew the plants in a raised bed in my back garden veg patch, a bag of manure was dug in first then I grew 5 plants, one up each pole of a wigwam, and just watered lots over the hot summer.’’

 

 

 

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Alison Cartwright applied a different approach: ‘‘My beans were surface sown in a seed tray of compost and then transplanted to one of my raised beds at the four-leaf stage. They were planted just as the hot summer weather started so this meant that watering every other day was necessary and on every third or fourth watering they were given a low nitrogen feed, they were also misted regularly to encourage the beans to set.’’

 

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David Graney, who won 3rd prize, commented: ‘‘I prepped the bed with well-rotted manure, then fed with comfrey tea and also mulched with comfrey leaves when we had the heatwave.’’

 

 

 

Well done to all the winners!

Runner Bean Guinness Record costs £3.55 for 45 seeds.

Mr Fothergill’s has a wide range of Runner Beans. They are available from Mr Fothergill’s retail stockists throughout the UK and from the company’s latest Seed Catalogue or online. Visit your local garden centre for the full range or head over to www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

August Gardening Advice

August 1st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

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Temperatures are soaring, the sun is shining; summer is well and truly here.

Flowers are bursting with vibrant colour. From golden heleniums to fiery dahlias, the reds, oranges and yellows have taken over from the pastel shades of spring.

But with scorching weather comes the ongoing battle to prevent plants from drying out. Watering cans and hoses are the gardener’s ally, but use water sensibly. Water butts, drip irrigation systems and water-retention gels are good items to have in your arsenal.

August is also the month for harvesting your homegrown fruit and veg. Try to manage your gluts by blanching and freezing any excess veg for a later date. Or, be the most popular person in your street by sharing produce with your neighbours!

Summer won’t last forever, but while it’s here, take the time to relax in the garden with a glass of something cold, and enjoy the fruits of your labours.

 

In the flower garden

HOLIDAY

August is traditionally the month to pack your suitcase and get away from it all. If you are going away, ensure you make plans to keep your garden from drying out. Ask a neighbour to pop over once every few days to water and check on your garden. If you have pots and containers, group them all together under some shade, to make the job easier. Keep greenhouses ventilated, and if necessary, create some shade to prevent your plants from getting scorched.

DEADHEADING

Deadhead regularly to keep flowers blooming into autumn. Fresh blooms not only look good, but continue to feed bees, butterflies and hoverflies, which are essential to a garden’s wellbeing. Sweet peas will be keen to set seed, so it’s important to deadhead daily.

PERENNIALS

With heavy blooms and ever-growing stems, plants such as dahlias and gladioli will need staking. This extra support will not only prevent damage, but discourage ground pests from attacking low-lying plants.

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LAVENDER

Stop lavender from becoming leggy by cutting into a compact shape, but don’t cut too far back as new flowers can’t grow on old wood. Use the cut flowers around the home. You could create lavender pouches to scent drawers or pillow cases.

WISTERIA

Ideally, you want to prune wisteria twice a year. Once in late winter, and once now in august. There’s been a lot of growth during the summer months, so cut these newly-formed long laterals back to the fifth set of leaves on each shoot, and tie-in where necessary. This restricts the growth, creates better ventilation, hardens the remaining summer growth, and encourages new flower buds for next year.

HEDGES

Hedges can become unruly in summer, so now’s the time to give them a prune. Whether you’re using shears or a hedge trimmer, think about how you want your hedge to look. Work from the bottom up in a smooth, controlled motion. Prune all sides and finish with the top. Wear protective clothing and use the correct height support if the hedge is high. Once completed, clear away all debris.

WATERING

This year, temperatures have been at their hottest, and our gardens and allotments are relying on us to sustain them.

Whether there’s a hosepipe ban in your area or not, using water sensibly is a good habit to get into too. Make use of water butts, re-use old dish water, and water early in the morning or at dusk, when the lower temperatures mean less water evaporation.

Keeping your garden well-weeded also ensures the water goes to the plants that need it.

If you’re planting up containers and hanging baskets, add water retention gel to the compost. If you’re growing tomatoes, create a drip irrigation system.

Every drop of water you save means less strain on our reservoirs.

POND

In the warmer weather, check pond levels daily. Remove any build-up of algae and weeds, placing it beside the pond overnight. This will give any captured wildlife the opportunity to return to the water. If you have water plants, now is the time to thin them. Clean the pumps and filters of any water features you may have.

 

On the veg patch

FEED

You should be feeding your tomatoes weekly now to ensure a healthy, tasty crop, but potash/tomato feed can also be used for cucumbers, aubergines, peppers, chillies and even sweetcorn plants.

MAIN POTATOES

As the leaves on your main crop start to turn yellow and wither, start digging them up. If you’re not going to eat them straight away, rest them on the topsoil for a few hours to dry the excess moisture, then place in hessian sacks. Ideally, the sacks should be stored somewhere with ventilation, where it’s cool, dark and pest-free. Check on them regularly to make sure none have spoilt.

ONIONS AND SHALLOTS

With foliage bent over and turning yellow, onions and shallots are now ready for lifting. Once lifted, leave them on the surface of the soil for a few hours to dry in the sunshine. Then, shake off the excess soil from the roots, careful not to damage them, and place somewhere warm so they can dry out. After a week, or two, they should be ready for storing somewhere cool, dark and dry. Either tie them together and hang them up, or place them in onion bags. Both storage methods should prevent mould, but check regularly to make sure none have perished.

Mr-Fothergills-growing-beans-from-sowing-to-harvestBEANS

Whether it’s runner beans or French beans, the key is to pick them regularly. By doing so, you’re preventing them from setting seed. Ensure they are well watered, and that the base of the plant is well-mulched. Once the plant reaches the top of its staked cane, pinch out the top.

PESTS AND DISEASES

August is the time for pests and diseases. Heat, humidity, and occasional rainfall are the perfect conditions to encourage blight. Check both tomato and potato plants regularly. If you see any signs of the fungal infestation, remove plant/s altogether. If you catch it at an early stage with your potatoes, leave the tubers in the ground, as they may not be affected. Do not place infected plants on the compost heap. Instead, either burn immediately or remove from the site altogether. To reduce blight, encourage a crop rotation system, and try to use blight resistant varieties.

Cabbage White Butterflies will be eyeing up your brassicas to lay their eggs. Check your crops regularly, and remove any eggs or pests you find. Net your crops, use brassica collars when planting out, and introduce nematodes to control caterpillars.

 

PICK REGULARLY

Courgettes, marrows and cucumbers will continue to produce so long as you pick regularly. Cut away excess foliage to help sunshine reach your crops and to prevent powdery mildew. Mildew can also be prevented by watering at the base of the plant rather than on the leaves.

FRUIT

With gooseberries now harvested, it’s the perfect time to prune the plant. You want to create a ‘goblet’ shape to encourage as much ventilation as possible. Remove the inner branches of the plant, and reduce the rest of the plant to about six leaves per branch. This will encourage fresh shoots to grow.

Keep an eye on plum and apple trees that might be weighed down by fruit. If the tree appears to be stressed, support and tie-in where possible. If you’re growing grapes, ensure the growing vines are being tied-in regularly.

Summer raspberry canes should have now fruited. Cut back the fruit canes, and encourage fresh new canes by tying them onto a support.

SOW

Although we’re mostly harvesting now, there are still things to grow. Succession sow salad leaves and spring onions for a continuous crop, and beetroot, kohlrabi and pak choi can also be sown now for a late harvest.

GREEN MANURE

As your veg beds start to empty, consider sowing green manure if you don’t plan to grow  winter crops. Not only will it improve the quality of the soil, but it will help suppress weeds.

 

 

Runner Bean Guinness Record leads the way in Mr Fothergill’s Year of the Bean 2017

November 23rd, 2016 | News, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Guinness Record An exclusive new runner bean called Guinness Record has so fired the imagination of staff at Mr Fothergill’s base, they organised a competition to see who can grow the longest specimen before it is launched in autumn 2016 for the 2017 season. Guinness Record is the company’s flagship variety in its support of the pan-European Year of the Bean initiative.

This exhibition-quality runner bean produces large crops of very long, smooth, tasty, slender pods up to 45cm (18in) from July to October. The vigorous, red-flowered plants are resistant to all bean viruses. A packet of 45 seeds of runner bean Guinness Record costs £3.25, and is available from Mr Fothergill’s retailers, from its mail order catalogue and from its website www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

This is the third year in succession we have lent our weight to the campaign which highlights a different vegetable annually. This commitment is also reflected on our trial ground this summer (2016). Trials manager Brian Talman reports he grew 35 varieties of runner beans, 30 varieties of climbing beans, 79 different dwarf beans and 36 broad beans.

Our mail order catalogue offers the largest range of bean seeds in the UK, with more than 90 varieties in its extensive range, including many unusual varieties and some organic seeds. For more information on Mr Fothergill’s range, or to request a catalogue please visit the website.

Buy British runner beans for higher yields and better flavour

February 9th, 2015 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

img1Despite their origins in tropical America and their half-hardiness in the UK, few vegetables are more popular with British gardeners and family cooks than runner beans. Many favourite old varieties such as Scarlet Emperor and Enorma have been widely grown for many decades. However, Mr Fothergill’s is keen to extol the advantages of modern, British-bred varieties, which are easier to grow, far more reliable, higher yielding and of superior flavour to their predecessors.

Leading the way is the white-flowered cultivar Moonlight that has been developed to overcome the img2problems associated with flower ‘set’. Using only traditional plant breeding techniques, a cross was made between runner beans and the related French bean. French beans naturally self-set and are nowhere near as fussy as runners about temperature and moisture.  The resulting cross was carefully selected and refined for around eight years in Britain to develop this new strain, which has all the looks and flavour of a runner bean, but none of the growing problems.

As a result of its breeding,  Moonlight is virtually self-setting, so low bee activity on cold days is not a problem. It is also much more tolerant of hot, dry conditions than traditional varieties, ensuring bumper crops whatever the British summer.  The beans have a lovely crisp texture and also freeze better than traditional cultivars, which is just as well given its high yields.  An added bonus with Moonlight is the pods are far less likely to turn ‘stringy’ than traditional types.

The company has a wide offering of British-bred runner beans, all of which are bred to thrive in our uncertain and unpredictable summers.  Seed can be sown under cover to give an early start or direct in the plants’ cropping positions.  Traditional ‘scarlet runners’ with red flowers include the ultra-early Red Rum, sweet-flavoured Aintree, both of which hold an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society, and the small-podded, but heavy cropping MinnowRunner Bean St George is well named, as it has red and white bicoloured flowers which form thick fleshy pods which are borne in clusters.

Runner bean plants can also be decorative, and none more so than pink flowered Celebration and Riley, both of which are AGM recipients. Celebration has long, fleshy, succulent pods, while Riley is especially tasty and crops through a long season.

With all this choice and the promise of bumper crops, there’s no reason not to buy British for your next batch of runner beans.