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Pea and bean

Approaches to growing:

Bean, runner (Phaseolus coccineus)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

One of the staples of the British veg. plot, runner beans are easy to grow and generally produce great yields. They are tall, beautiful plants, with their red and/or white flowers and are a great architectural addition to any plot. They need strong support though - usually wigwams or double rows of canes, or structures with string or netting for the plants to twine around.

One of the keys to success with runner beans is a moist, but well-drained, fertile soil. One way of ensuring this is to dig a 60cm wide by 25cm deep tranch, line with newspaper and fill with compost or manure. Top of with soil and keep well mulched.

Don't plant too many - 15 or 20 plants is plenty for an average family -  unless you have plenty of hungry friends or want to freeze them. They do freeze relatively well but I'm not a fan.

Likes and dislikes
Soil
Stonyok
Lightok
Loamyprefer
Heavyok
pH6.0 - 7.0
Manure
Previous cropok
Previous autumnok
Before plantingprefer
Position
Full sunprefer
Partial shadedislike
Shadedislike
Exposure
Opendislike
Shelteredprefer

Sow indoors

plant plant

Between plants: 23cm
Between rows: 60cm

Plant out when all danger of frost has passed. Tie seedlings in loosely to help them find their supports but you should then be able to leave them to it. Keep plants well-watered, particularly once pods have begun to form. Pinch out growing tips once plants reach the tops of their supports - this ensures that all the plant's energy goes into pod formation rather than more growth.


harvest harvest

Pick beans as soon as they are 15-20cm long as regularly as possible - ideally every other day. More picking means more beans. Even one pod allowed to reach maturity will stop that plant producing more pods.


Sow direct

sow indoors sow indoors

Between plants: 15cm
Between rows: 60cm

Sow in drills 2cm deep. Plant a few extra at the end of the row to fill in any gaps. In milder areas, an initial sowing in early May can be followed by a second in late June/July to keep the beans coming until the first frosts. Tie seedlings in loosely to help them find their supports, once they are large enough, but you should then be able to leave them to it. Keep plants well-watered, particularly once pods have begun to form. Pinch out growing tips once plants reach the tops of their supports - this ensures that all the plant's energy goes into pod formation rather than more growth.


harvest harvest

Pick beans as soon as they are 15-20cm long as regularly as possible - ideally every other day. More picking means more beans. Even one pod allowed to reach maturity will stop that plant producing more pods.


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