Plant runner beans from late spring and these vegetables will thrive in the warm, moist soil and quickly twine up their supports.
At this time of year you can still sow seeds, which will produce a good harvest of succulent pods, or you can buy young plants. Either way, you’ll get a delicious crop that tastes much better that the out-of-season beans from supermarkets.
To get the best runner bean harvest, make sure you plant them in a sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil. Runner beans are hungry plants, so grow them in a rich soil, incorporated with plenty of well-rotted compost or farmyard manure.
Follow our step-by-step guide to growing runner beans, below.
You Will Need
- Runner bean seeds or young plants
- Seed tray or small pots
- Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
If you’re growing runner beans from seed, sow a few extra as a back up in case some plants die. Either sow these directly in the soil or into modular seed trays or pots of peat-free, multi-purpose compost to germinate indoors.
Water the young plants regularly as they grow. They will be ready to plant out when the roots of the plants are well developed, but not pot-bound in the container. Before planting out, wait for all risk of frost to pass, and acclimatise them to outdoor temperatures for a week, by taking them out during the day and bringing them in again at night.
Water the plants thoroughly before planting out. Erect a wigwam of bamboo canes or sticks over well-prepared soil. Using a trowel, dig a hole at the base of each cane and set plants with the top of the root ball level with the surrounding soil. Fill around the roots with soil and firm the plant in, using your fingers. Water the plants well before applying a 5cm-deep mulch of damp compost around the base of the plants to help conserve soil moisture.
Make a shallow dent in the soil near the plants, fill it with water and it will soak down to their roots, rather than running off the soil surface.