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Longest runner bean competition winners

Bean pods in Mr Fothergill's competition worthy of a beanstalk
Bean pods in Mr Fothergill's competition worthy of a beanstalk

Pods worthy of Jack in Mr Fothergill’s competition

One seed company’s search for the longest runner bean has certainly come up trumps – with some great tips for veg growers for good measure.

In April, Mr Fothergill’s launch a competition to find the UK’s longest pod, with Facebook and Twitter followers sharing pictures of their beans growing, where they could get spot prizes every month.

First prize went to June Saddington, with the longest pod measuring 62.3cm.

Alison Cartwright was second, with a 61cm long bean and David Graney gained third place with a pod of 53cm.

Proof of the pods’ length

Growers had to supply pictures of the pods 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. The winning bean that year was 47.2cm long.

Winner June 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 five plants, one up each pole of a wigwam, and just watered lots over the hot summer.”

Alison 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.

Heatwave, watering and low nitrogen feed

“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.”

David added: “I prepped the bed with well-rotted manure, then fed with comfrey tea and also mulched with comfrey leaves when we had the heatwave.”

Runner bean Guinness Record costs £3.55 for 45 seeds. Mr Fothergill’s has a wide range of beans, available from retail stockists or visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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