Summer would not be complete (for some!) without a crop of runner beans. For an early crop plant at the end of April indoors but these hardy seeds can be planted straight in the ground from late May to the end of June.
Sowing the seeds
- Beans prefer a sunny, well-drained spot, sheltered from winds.
- They can also be grown in pots.
- They are traditionally planted in a double row as this makes it easier to create a bamboo support structure for the beans to grow up.
- The soil should be dug over and plenty of organic material added.
- When planting the seeds it is a good idea to plant two seeds together and when germination has occured remove the smaller and less robust of the two plants.
- Create a bamboo cane structure by sloping the bamboo canes towards each other and tying them at the ends. This can be done in a wigwam pattern to create an oramental feature or alternatively in a row.
Whilst the plants are growing ensure the soil is constantly moist and loosely tie the plants to their supports when they first start to grow. Remove the growing point of the plants once they reach the top of their supports.
- Regular picking is essential.
- You need to prevent any pods reaching maturity as this will stop the plant from flowering and no more pods will be produced.
- The more you pick the beans the more the plants will produce. You should have a crop for up to eight weeks.
- Start harvesting when the pods are 15-20cm long and before the beans inside start to swell.