Everyone I speak with seems to have a childhood memory of harvesting Runner Beans in their grandparents garden or allotment and eating them as fresh as possible with bread and butter. A very easy vegetable to grow and even a small amount of plants will give you a bountiful harvest.
Bicoloured variety red-and-white flowers. Produces a heavy crop of medium length pods over a long season if picked regularly. The perfect choice for the flower garden where it complements climbing plants such as sweet peas.
Masses of self-pollinating flowers, so prolific cropping even in poor weather! An innovative red flowered variety from a cross between a runner bean and French bean. Sets huge quantities of high quality 25cm (10″) long stringless pods of exceptional flavour. RHS Award of Garden Merit winner.
My last frost date is mid-May so I sow my seeds in the greenhouse a month before, usually the first week in April. Seeds should germinate within 10 days.
Distance between plants 9in, distance between rows 18in. They will need a structure to climb up. There are many methods such as a wigwam but the traditional is a double row of bamboo canes.
When transplanting, place the plant on the inside of the cane to make it easier for it to climb. You may need to loosely tie the stems to the cane using twine.
They like to be grown with Sweet Peas but dislike being close to Onions, Garlic, Fennel and Gladiolus.
They belong to the Roots & Onion family, they should be planted in a bed which previously had Potatoes. The next crop in this space should be Legumes (eg: Peas, Beans).
Seasonal Care & Related Posts
Keep well watered and weed free. Blackfly may become a problem – an organic method is to use soapy water and spray it onto the blackfly.
PESTS, DISEASES AND PROBLEMS
When the beans are around 8in long, harvest by holding the main plant/cane and pull the pod. Be careful not to damage the main plant when doing so.
Saving seed for next year
At the end of the season, leave a few pods to develop. When the pods feel papery, pick from the plant and remove the beans from the pod. Dry them by placing on a tray for a few days. Store in glass jars and use within a year.
How to Store
I tend to freeze my runner beans and use them throughout the Winter and early Spring.