Runner Bean Phaseolus coccineus
A tender crop that is perennial if the roots are lifted and stored like dahlias, but most often treated as an annual because the plants grow so quickly (do not eat the tubers!). Sow the large seeds individually in pots under protection in mid-May and plant out hardened-off plants after the last frost. Seed may also be sown directly into warm ground, about 5cm deep at each station on supports, which may be in the form of canes, netting or strings. The crop can be heavy, so strong support is essential. If planting in a row, allow at least 15cm between stations. Adequate soil moisture is important for a good crop. Harvest pods before they are over-mature to avoid stringiness, and pick frequently to encourage more pods to form. Leave some on the plant to mature if you wish to save the seed, if your patch is well isolated. Runner bean varieties readily cross-pollinate and need at least 1000m between varieties.
Donated to HSL in 2000 by Oldrich Misa, who spent 10 years developing this bean during the 1970s. The name ‘Meesha’ comes from the phonetic transcription of his surname. It was produced commercially by Asmer Seeds and supplied through a number of seed catalogues. When commercial production ceased, Mr Misa continued to grow and save seed from the variety each year. It produces scarlet flowers followed by a good yield of sweet, crunchy, great-flavoured, black-seeded beans.
Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.
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