This is a letter from an old edition of The Organic Way –
We took advice in one of last years’ newsletters and just before the first frost we potted up 10 runner bean root stocks in some well rotted leafmould and left them to overwinter in our shed. We planted them out again in the spring when the soots began to show and the results have been amazing. Most of the beans we grew from seed were decimatede by slugs and snails, but the rootstock plants were not. They’ve romped ahead untouched by pests or diseases. Can we save the same rootstocks again this year? We don’t have any leafmould to store them in so could you please suggest some alternatives?
Answer: We don’t know! No-one here has kept runner bean plants over winter for two years running. The only info we have on overwintering bean roots comes from a Victorian book The Gardener’s Assistant, which says that such plants come into cropping far sooner than those raised from seed but will deteriorate if kept many years. It also points out that the roots are poisonous.
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