Tuesday 17 May 2016

Planting Runner Beans and French Beans

Last Tuesday and Wednesday we had a lot of rain, which soaked the soil completely - good conditions for planting out beans. Normally I sow far too many beans and end up giving most of them away. This year I have been more restrained. This is what I have:

That's two different types of Runner Bean, like these "Streamline" ones. (The others are "Tenderstar".)

These are my old favourites when it comes to climbing French Beans - "Cobra":

These are the "Konstantin" beans from the Czech Republic, one captured just at the moment of bursting out of its seed-capsule:

I also have some "Lingua di Fuoco" Borlotto Beans (no separate pic today).

Anyway, the beans pictured above are about twice as many as I need, but it's always good to have a few spares. In my "Bean Bed" I have erected 7 pairs of 8-foot canes, and I have planted my beans as follows: (the same on both sides)
Canes 1 and 3 - "Streamline" Runner Beans - one per cane
Canes 5 and 7 - "Tenderstar" Runner Beans - one per cane
Cane 2 - "Lingua di Fuoco" Borlotti - 2 per cane
Cane 4 - "Konstantin" Climbing French Beans - 2 per cane
Cane 6 - "Cobra" Climbing French Beans - 2 per cane

The Cane 1 pair is nearest the camera here

The reason I put one bean per cane for the Runners and 2 per cane for the others is simply that the Runners tend to become bigger, bushier plants.

Cane 1 in foreground

When planting beans I always place them very deeply, such that the soil level is only just below their first pair of leaves. This means that the roots will be deep down in the bed where the soil remains moister, and cooler in the Summer.

Normally I would expect to have to water-in the plants after planting, but this time I felt it was unnecessary to do so because the soil was already nice and moist. The final part of my procedure was to put down some slug pellets to keep the dreaded molluscs away from my precious "babies".

Now I just have to hope that we have seen the last of this year's frost, because beans like these are very tender and will succumb easily to frost. This is why I need the spares, which I will keep in the pots seen above, so that if frost is forecast I can bring them indoors. "Be prepared" is a good motto for a gardener!


  1. The spares will be handy as insurance from slug attack too.

  2. Those cobra beans are amazing! I grew them for the first time last year. I planted mine out the other day, put slug pellets down. Next morning I came out to check on them and there were snails hanging off the lower leaves and broken off leaves littering the soil! I couldn't believe it! I'm glad I let them get a bit bigger than usual now! Hope yours fare better

  3. We have grown Cobra for a few years now. Always reliable. I have a collection of old secondary glazing that I place round the cane frame for the first couple of weeks. Acts as a wind shield, reduces frost risk and keeps out rabbits and pheasant!

  4. Such wonderful posts....I have learned so much from your experiences in vegetable gardening. I hope
    I can do better next year!

  5. Your beans are looking great - I think I'm still at least a week or 2 away from sowing any beans - just don't trust our weather quite yet.


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