Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.

Scarlet Runner Beans

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Elizabeths photo

These magic beans will be dried and added to soups during the winter. If you saw an earlier post, they were shown in their blossom stage, winding their way around the shade house. This is my first year growing scarlet runners so I hope I’m drying them them the right way. I was given the starter beans by Marissa Miller, a young farmer who lives down the road from me. She recommended pulling the plants up by the roots in the fall before frost and hanging them upside down to dry.  My plants were so strongly entwined with the shade house saplings that I had to perform major surgery to cut them free.

Then, through a series of trial and error, I cut them free of moisture producing leaves and I found seedling tray supports to lay the beans in. The trays fit perfectly in the rafters of the tool shed. Now, if the mice don’t get them first, maybe they’ll dry there for a few months. Then the fifth graders can shell them and cook them with the other “three sisters.”

scarlet runner bean blossoms

scarlet runner bean blossoms



drying tray

drying tray

drying in the rafters

drying in the rafters


UPDATE ON THE SCARLET RUNNERS: This shed wasn’t a great place to keep the beans for drying. The onesthat hadn’t already dried on their vines got frosted and began to rot. Next year we’ll have to try a warmer storage place. it’s tricky knowing when to take in the beans here in Vermont where the temps can dip below freezing in late September. We’ll shell those that were spared and buy more from Marissa Miller, the local farmer who gave us the beans to plant last spring.


Author: vermontschoolgarden

I have been an elementary teacher at the Westminster Center School for 30 years. For most of those years, I maintained a garden as part of my teaching curriculum resource. Now I am the Garden Coordinator for all of the Westminster Center School classrooms.

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