Beans, Runner

May / Jun
Jul / Aug, Sep / Oct
Indoors | Outdoors

Why Grow It

Runner beans are incredibly prolific, incredibly attractive looking, and easy to grow. Runner beans plants will grow up to 10ft tall and a row of them growing up a cane wigwam will make a great feature in the summer vegetable patch. The beans themselves are tasty and freeze well.

In fact, the only downside to runner beans is that you will have to pick them every other day in the summer months – so don’t be tempted to sow too many of them. A single plant will produce up to a kilo of beans.

  • Runner beans like a fertile soil, so ideally add compost and a general fertiliser a week or two before sowing/transplanting.
  • Seeds can be sown direct in the soil or in module trays ready for transplanting.
  • Runner beans are frost sensitive and grow poorly in cold weather, so don’t sow indoors until early May.
  • You can sow/tranplant outdoors in late May or early June.
  • Sow 5cm deep in pots or direct – they are big seeds that grow quickly.
  • If sowing direct space plants 30cm apart
  • Plants will be ready for transplanting when they are around 15cm tall.
  • Runner beans need a support system once they start to grow. Arrange canes or sticks  either in a wigwam or double row. Two plants can be grown up each cane. For a double row the canes should be put in every 30cm in rows 60cm apart. The canes are tied at the top onto a horizontal cane. If a wigwam is used then 6 or 8 canes are placed around 30cm apart in a circle with a radius of around 40cm.
  • Water well if the soil is dry when the plant is flowering
  • Try to pick the beans while they are young – they get stringy as they get older.
  • Keep picking the beans – mature beans left on the plant will suppress the production of more pods.
  • Enorma
  • Scarlet Emperor
  • Slugs are a problem for seedlings – trap, hand pick or use a less toxic slug pellet like iron phosphate.
  • Older beans have strings down both sides, which are unpleasant to eat, so cut them off.
  • Slice beans and fry or boil them. They can also be blanched and frozen.
  • Bear in mind that the plants get incredibly heavy, so make sure the support structure is solid.