Saturday 26 May 2012

Runner Beans

I can really believe that Summer is on the way now, because I have planted out my Runner Beans.

You can see that I have erected a support structure made from 8-foot bamboo canes. In that one raised bed I have used 14 canes in 7 pairs, and one more along the top to keep the whole thing rigid. Runner Beans grow very tall and produce a lot of foliage, which can get extremely heavy, so it is worth preparing some substantial support for them before they get big. I prefer to use bamboo canes because they have a fair degree of elasticity and will bend rather than snap, when subject to a heavy load.

At the base of each cane I have planted one Runner Bean plant. Along one side there are 7 "Red Rum" and along the other there are 7 "Scarlet Empire". Both of these varieties have red flowers. This year I am being really restrained: usually I put two beans up each cane, but I think that sometimes "less is more" and a single bean with no competition may produce a better crop than two vying with each other for space, light and nutrients.

However... To make full use of the space I have put a couple of parsley plants in between each pair of canes. I now have 24 little clumps of Parsley, each with 2 or 3 plants. Maybe for once I'll have enough Parsley to keep our kitchen well supplied?

I know there is still a long way to go, but once I have got the beans in the ground I feel as if I have surmounted a significant psychological hurdle. I feel as if I've done my bit, and it's now up to Nature to do the rest!

P.S. I found some containers for the "Maskotka" tomatoes:

In order to release these I turfed-out rather prematurely some Daffodil bulbs that are now drying out in the garage, hopefully to be re-planted in the Autumn. The pots are not as big as I would like - you can see that they are considerably smaller than the square container behind - but they will probably be OK since Maskotka is a low-growing, bushy type.


  1. I always plant my beans up wigwams rather than tent like structures, but like you, I usually plant two beans per cane. I'll be interested to hear your one bean per cane do. I'm not growing runners this year, opting for more French beans instead.

  2. I always feel that way when the last of the warm weather crops are planted. But this year I'm staggering the planting of the corn. So I won't have the last in until late in June.

  3. Will you grow anything under the structure to cover the ground? We haven't any runner beans in yet but we're starting to get there.

  4. Like Jo, I like the french bean types as well, but will almost always grow a few runner beans for their lovely red flowers and the fact that the hummingbirds love them (don't think you have hummingbirds in England?). Also, they add a nice punch of hot color to the garden. My favourite bean is Fortex...young or old..always tender.

  5. Hello, good to "meet" someone local who loves their veggie garden as much as I do! I love your plot, it looks very neat and tidy :) I've always grown French beans but have tried a few runners this year and they're growing well.

  6. This weather had been just what the garden needed! The plants are really taking off now and seeds sow much quicker I've noticed. That's quite a bit of parsley! Things are looking great in your garden. I'm looking forward to your runner bean progress over the months as I'm learning this year and hope I can manage a decent harvest!

  7. It's because of you, Mark, that I've add some climbing beans this year. Well also because they taste good.

  8. Everything is looking great! You could grow broccoli or beets under them in the shady area couldn't you?

  9. Very nice! Are you putting anything in the middle? Tansy or marigolds could help with bugs and you wouldn't have to worry about trying to harvest them. You're blog rocks. Thanks!


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