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19 messages
16/08/2013 at 10:22


although my runner beans were late getting going the plants themselves look healthy enough, lots of flowers, but virutaly no beans have set. In the previously 5 years I haven't seen this problem, any ideas?

16/08/2013 at 10:58

You will find that there are lots of people who have posted the same problem. Bumblebees breaking into the back of the flowers, rather than going in by the front door, generally seems to be the problem.

16/08/2013 at 11:27

Interesting thank you,

is there anything that can be done to avoid this? Are any varities more prone to this than others?

16/08/2013 at 13:18

If you grow white flowered variety of runner beans, they are pollinated by moths. I have both red and white, so if one lot doesn't work, the others should.

20/08/2013 at 10:27

All red I'm afraid

20/08/2013 at 11:03

I'd certainly recommend you try growing some of the self-fertile varieties of runner bean next year, like 'Moonlight' and 'Firestorm'. I think these varieties may have been bred by crossing runner beans with French beans, as these are often more self-fertile and don't require bee pollination. Certainly worth a try. I haven't grown any this year, but if anyone else reading this has tried either 'Moonlight' or 'Firestorm' perhaps they could let us all know how they got on.

20/08/2013 at 12:54

I've got moonlight and firestorm. (Offer from T&M) I prefer the white ones, the reds have a bit more string. Both  are producing masses and I am giving away carrier bags full to anyone who wants them.

20/08/2013 at 13:06

thats why i dont grow runners every year people try to give me bags full usually large and stringy, i grow dwarfe french  much nicer IMO 

27/08/2013 at 13:57

well certainly a top tip for next year, I did actually manage to pick 6 beans yesterday Not much from 12 plants but better than none at I guess

27/08/2013 at 15:54

I've been watching Tree and other bees getting the nectar from our runner bean flowers by going 'round the back' rather than through the 'front door'.  We're having a much poorer crop than even last year 

27/08/2013 at 17:52

My recommendation in this situation would be to grow the white flowered variety 'White Lady' she sets well in warm weather & is a super tasting good all rounder.

I’ve picked 15lbs today!


27/08/2013 at 17:56

Deep envy 

27/08/2013 at 18:31
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

Deep envy 


Ah! But nothing is as it seems, Dove.....that's from three 20ft double rows. Although, I do pick about the same two or three times a week.

28/08/2013 at 06:48

OK - I won't feel quite so bad about mine then David  

Think there'll be enough on ours for a meal this evening for the two of us .... fingers crossed.

28/08/2013 at 08:07

When I'm watering my climbing beans I also mist the flowers, think I read somewhere that this helps them to set. Might have dreamt it, but I've loads of beans on. But it won't stop bumblers breaking them.

Tell me if it's wrong, and I'll stop giving them a wash

28/08/2013 at 09:45

No, that's a very good thing to be doing, Kef.

 This is an extract from the government's WW2 'Dig for Victory' campaign:

"Runner beans - syringe the plants, and particularly the flowers, with water during hot weather to encourage the beans to form. And pinch out the growing tips of the main shoots when the plants have reached the tops of the sticks."


28/08/2013 at 14:53

Here in Cheshire we have had a fantastic crop of Runner Beans variety "Butler" which has a red flower. We have grown them as last year, 8 plants grown from seed in an 18 inch terracotta pot - so much for the experts telling us to "double dig a trench and fill with rotted manure).

Fed with Tomato fertiliser weekly the pods have been 1 foot long and well filled with beans. They are now slowing down in growth but they really have been excellent.

28/08/2013 at 15:33

amuseingly I have grown Butler and White Lady successfully in the past, but this year I just bought some from my local DIY store but cant remember the variety, but I do recall that I hadn't grown it before 

28/08/2013 at 17:19
Hi some reasons why flowers dont set,soil not kept moist,,try to mulch the soil in early midsummer,,early morning/evening misting helps to keep the humidity around the flowers and help to set,,alkaline,chalky soils is best for beans,if you have neutral or acidic soil it pays to water the crop once with hydrated lime,,also to pinch out the growing tips of the plants when they are 6 to 8 inches high,resulting side shoots usually set better,, ( RHC allotment hand book ) just got it from charity shop ??16:99
got it as a pressy for ten bob (50 pence for the youngsters if there are any on ea)
no charge for all this info folks Alan4711 b lucky
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19 messages