Do you grow beans on bushes or vines? Are trellises or fencing a help or a bother to you? Preferences for growing beans seem to be as many as the bean varieties out there.
Mountaineer Half Runner Beans, however, can give you more than one option on how you grow them! They’re able to grow with or without support, and you can still enjoy their yields during the harvest.
Read on to learn about these old Dutch Half Runners!
What are Mountaineer Half Runner Beans?
These four-to-five-inch long, round, light green or white beans are open-pollinated. Though widely adaptable, they grow well in warm climates. The plants are two to three feet tall, and their pods hold tender white seeds.
Mountaineer Half Runner Beans are German heirlooms. Dutch immigrants brought them to South Carolina and grew them there. They’re popular in the South but can also be found and grown in the North.
Dining on Half Runner Beans
With a sweet and rich taste, you could eat these beans with or without extra ingredients when cooking them. In fact, the Half Runners taste so much better home-grown than they do coming from a grocery store!
Stovetop cooking is a common way to prepare Mountaineer Half Runner Beans. Instead of the usual store-bought green beans for your soups, casseroles, and side dishes, half runners can make a good substitute!
Want a fancier way to cook your Half Runner beans? Don’t just boil them; sauté them, using this Half Runner Sauté recipe as an example!
To Use or Not to Use a Trellis
You want your bean plants to grow upright, but sometimes, the pods will weigh the plants down. For pole beans, a trellis needs to hold those climbing vines, but for bush beans, it’s unnecessary.
With Mountaineer Half Runner Beans growing like bush and pole beans, a trellis is a matter of choice. However, with a trellis, they’ll grow easily, yield more pods, and have more airflow and protection from diseases like anthracnose.
If you go for it, we recommend a trellis netting that’s easy to install and cut for your plants’ spacing.
Growing Half Runner Beans
When to Plant
The best time to plant Mountaineer Half Runner Beans is in the spring when the soil warms up. Ensure, however, that it’s after the last bout of frost before you plant the seeds.
The soil should drain water easily, and its pH level should also be somewhere between 6,0, and 7.5.
Mountaineer Half Runner Beans will germinate once the soil’s temperature reaches 65 or about 77 degrees. It may take about eight to 16 days to do so depending on the soil’s temperature when planting.
Remember to clear the soil of any weeds and debris before planting the seeds. Using mulch will keep the weeds under control.
If you opt to use a trellis, place its supports down before digging the holes. Close to the trellis, plant the seeds at least one inch deep and three to four inches away from each other.
Without the trellis, the spacing remains the same. And if you plant the seeds in rows, space each row three inches apart so you have room to harvest.
Water, Sunlight, and Fertilizer
Water your beans to keep the soil moist, and avoid overwatering and sogging up the soil.
Besides water intake, the beans need full sunlight for at least eight hours a day. And if the plants aren’t producing enough beans, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer.
A natural way to fertilize Mountaineer Half Runner Beans is to chop up the plant and work it into the soil. This is for after the final harvest and if you decide to plant more beans for next spring.
After about 55 to 60 days, if the beans are smooth, crisp, and firm, they’re ready for harvest. Morning is an ideal time to harvest the because that’s when they’ll have the best flavor.
Let the pods dry before harvesting. Break the pod stem above the cap, and from there, pull the strings off gently. Finally, seal them in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze them until they’re ready to wash and cook.
Be advised that once summer hits, the bean plants may stop production. But once the temperature cools for fall, they’ll produce again and you can continue harvesting.
Protecting Your Mountaineer Half Runner Bean Plants
These are a few examples of pests that feed off the leaves and pods of Mountaineer Half Runner Beans:
- Bean leaf beetles
- Bean weevils
- Corn earworms
You can plant marigolds or rosemary near the beans to deter them, or heat the plants to kill the eggs. You can also spray these creatures with hose water or insecticidal soap.
When growing Mountaineer Half Runner Beans, watch out for these few diseases that reduce bean quality and yields:
- Bacterial blight
- Powdery mildew
Removing the infected plants, pruning infected areas, and keeping them off the ground can help treat and prevent these diseases. Planting in sunnier spots is another tactic for prevention, and that’s good since the beans need full sunlight.
Luckily, Mountaineer Half Runner Beans are resistant to the common bean mosaic virus. This virus would discolor the leaves and roll them up, and because there’s no cure, you’d have to destroy the plants.
Where to Buy the Beans and Seeds
At Hoss Tools, you can purchase 150 Mountaineer Half Runner seeds up to a pound of them.
If you’d rather skip online shopping, Walmart will sell you the seeds and beans. Better yet, check your local farmers’ markets for fresh picks!
Run All the Way for Your Mountaineer Half Runner Beans!
Whether you prefer to use a trellis or not, you grow your Mountaineer Half Runner Beans your own way. One way may be better than the other, but you’ll still have the same results when you harvest and cook them.
Visit our Beans page to learn about more bean varieties and other ways to grow and cook them!