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Runner Beans


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Blowin
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Joined: 20 Aug 2008
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Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 6:52 am    Post subject: Runner Beans Reply with quote

At long last I've created a permanent set of kit for beans to climb. It won't be horrendously expensive initially but will remain usable more or less for ever.

Go to https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T5QNWeuUAuBahn0kZGNcII24laYCZum5xvIKrV9MO0U/edit.

Any queries? Send me a PM

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry. Something wrong with my link. Will persevere.
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Blowin
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Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New link for my document. Go to

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KTdueyd3s9hNDoIj_tXg1W56EjCGkOGFjnRcDhjAowE/pub

Not exactly as prepared but the basic info is there.

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very inventive blowin, well done you. I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like it before. Might give that a try next year.
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tippben
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Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please keep us updated on how it performs! Being short on space, we always grow our runners in old metal buckets with parachute cord tied to the handles, which climb up the bare walls of our house.
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Blowin
Rank attained: Orchard owner


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Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tippben - If it helps, I can guarantee the PRINCIPLE. It's the kit that I've managed to take a stage further.

'Back home', about 20 years ago, I came across an 8-9ft concrete fencing post lying beside the road with its top broken and the reinforcing rods poking out. I took it home, bent all bar one of the rods down out of the way, stuck an old bike wheel on the remaining one and sunk it in the tiny bit of garden we had at the time. From somewhere I found an old child's iron hoop which I laid on the ground and, by running blue nylon cord up and down between hoop and wheel, I had the prototype of what I've just published.

Routinely 'Management' emptied all the spud peelings etc (with the water) round the post, summer and winter, so that the area was always moist and composted. We always had good crops and I only stopped when the whole garden was needed for an Alsatian pup.

Last year, here in IE, I had a good crop using a tractor tyre with lengths of old 2x1 roof batten, tied at the top to the very same wheelchair wheel I've used this year, but I've always felt that it should be possible to devise a more formal approach for permanent use and long term economy. If, by chance, beans don't like climbing up polypropylene for some reason, I may have to think about winding strips of old cloth or something round them, but I'm not anticipating this will be the case and, as a result, I feel confident in suggesting you could take this route straight away. As always, though, the preparation stage is the key.[/i][/u]

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Good guy
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very ingenious. Great to see creative re-use of materials.
Also, I'm sure there is a market for home grown poles/beansticks, gown from coppiced hazel, birch or ash. Few of us have the space to do this for ourselves, but surely there is an opportunity for smallholders or farmers to grow them and sell them through farmers markets etc. it would save a lot of imported bamboo and associated carbon miles.
I save some of my own prunings for use in the garden but they aren't as good as purpose grown stuff would be.
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Blowin
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Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is one of those situations, Good Guy, where the most impressive of principles often fails to meet commercial requirements.

First, woodlands don't appear overnight and good ones take generations to become really productive. Secondly, hazel will only be cut every seven or eight years so, whatever acreage is needed to produce a year's product, will have to be multiplied by that amount to achieve continuity. Hazel might last three years, if lucky, in the garden. Birch no more than two and ash is best used for other things as it has no secondary product like pea boughs. To maintain woodland in good order it needs to be kept tidy with left overs burnt - frowned upon in Ireland so self defeating.

Historically, the perfect hazel stem would produce a besom (broom) handle, a bean stick and a pea bough. Broom handles aren't used any more, and both of the other two are bulky and heavy to transport which means the end user, in most cases, can't collect them in a private car. In the end the products become so expensive that no-one will buy them and land owners will find far better ways of using valuable land that, once laid down to woodland, needs a major operation to convert back to tillage.

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Good guy
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our ideas of what constitutes good value and efficiency may well change in the decades to come. Present understanding of such topics is firmly lodged into an oil-based, capital intensive, growth oriented system. I refuse to call such an inherently self-defeating system an 'economy'.
It's only fifty years ago that, in the farming area where I lived, farmers regularly took small timber from hedges and rough woodland to supply a variety of uses. (They would cut nothing from a fairy fort, though, or a lone thorn tree.) and things like pitch forks and hay rakes were made in a local sawmill - no need to go to the garden centre for them.
Locally made implements had developed over generations to suit local conditions - the Fermanagh spade with its long, narrow, strongly cranked blade and long handle is much the best tool for making lazy beds in sticky Fermanagh 'blue clay'.
I'm not suggesting we turn the clock back, but there are good lessons to be learned from examining closely the much less energy-intensive way we did things in the past.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My reference to 'self defeating', Good Guy, was in connection with the necessary practice of burning all waste so that a cant of woodland is left in pristine condition after all the product has been removed. Ireland's veto on fires, however well intended, produces the 'war zone' type areas we see all round the countryside where timber firms have cut and removed timber with dinosaur machines, but left huge amounts of waste in their wake.

Society as a whole is facing enormous privation unless the growth in population is countered in some way, and the day will come when people may HAVE to grow as much food as they can domestically and may HAVE to source things like bean sticks wherever they can - as you say.

However, at this point in time, hazel would have to be cut in winter. Only hand tools do the job properly. Workers will expect top dollar for working outdoors in all weathers. The whole operation has to be funded, in terms of wages, until the product is sold. Heavy loads will have to be drawn out of the woodland around March time when the ground will be at its wettest and even tractors will become bogged in. Having eventually been delivered to a roadside location, everything will have to be re-loaded on to lorries and delivered to its retailer who will similarly have to deliver it to its end user.

Good Guy, if you can imagine the price a gardener would have to pay for a bundle of 25 bean sticks at the end of this process, and again after two or three years, I think you'll have to accept that the industry of yesteryear has gone for good - sad though it may be?

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blowin wrote:
However, at this point in time, hazel would have to be cut in winter. Only hand tools do the job properly.


I am collecting hazel twigs next week for my pea and bean wigwams, with a chainsaw!!!

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't suppose the world will fall apart, Tagwex, but, by now, the sap will have begun to rise and cutting will weaken the root stock. The 'finish' left by a chainsaw will allow rain to penetrate and rot parts of the stub, whereas the smooth slope left by a hand tool will perform more like a roof and take the rain away.

All these little things will contribute to the long term health, and hence productivity, of any woodland that is being worked commercially.

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And if I trim them when I get home with said tool to an even length??? What kind of diameter should I be targeting in my search?
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


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Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments, Blowin.
I don't pretend to understand much about modern forestry practises. I've never been able to accept that cut-away forest must be left in the 'war zone' state you describe. Neither do I understand a reluctance to burn off such waste, provided it is done in a controlled way - it can't be because of the release of carbon dioxide because that carbon has only recently been sequestered. I can only suppose that it is due to commercial reasons, where profit is king and it would be 'economically unviable' to do otherwise. What do the Finns and Swedes do?
All too often, costs are assessed far too narrowly. The real, overall cost to the whole environment, including future costs incurred by current practises, are never taken in to account in the present system. The profit then accrues to a shareholder in some distant place and someone else is left poorer and has to deal with a degraded environment.
I absolutely understand your point about the likely cost of the 25 beansticks. But what is the alternative? What is the real cost of the 25 bamboos imported from the Far East? Were they grown sustainably? Did the workers have fair wages and conditions and a safe working environment? What was the real cost of shipping them? Marine oil is highly polluting to the atmosphere and it's price is heavily subsidised.
Unfortunately, the way things are organised today, it is very hard for ordinary citizens to answer questions like these.
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Blowin
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Location: Drimoleague, Co Cork

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tagwex - 30-35mm is ideal but not less than 30mm at the thick end.

Good Guy - If my slightly less eco-friendly kit lasts for at least 25 years, that's good enough for me.

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