Now that I’ve covered the topic of growing bush beans in your garden, I can’t just stop there. There are so many other beans out there, and I love them all, so I have to mention them.
Among the most popular and easiest to grow are runner beans and they can be used in a wide variety of dishes – you’re guaranteed to be able to make something delicious with them. They’re a perfect cheap and space-saving crop that you can save well into the winter.
The Things You Need to Know About Runner Beans
Beans are a popular and well-known vegetable, but lots of people tend to think they’re all the same. There is a multitude of unique qualities to the runner beans that are not present in other beans. Let’s see what’s so special about them:
As you can see, it’s quite a unique type of bean, made further unique by the huge amount of variations and cultivars available out there. Just imagine your unique runner bean variant and it probably already exists!
The Proper Way To Prepare The Soil For Runner Beans
Runner beans should ideally be planted in a spot that’s sheltered, so as not to scare off pollinating insects. They can grow well both in the full sunlight and in partial shade.
For the most part, runner beans will grow in almost any type of soil, even clay or rocky soil. If you want optimal results, though, the acidity of the soil should be somewhere around 6.5 pH and should never exceed 7. The soil should reach a temperature of at least 55 degrees F, so the optimal time for planting them somewhere in mid-May.
Before sowing, you should make sure that the soil is enriched with some organic matter, possibly manure or a kelp-based compost.
The traditional way of preparing the soil for planting is by making a bean trench, though it is not necessary.
To make a bean trench, mark a line then dig out a trench that’s at least 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep with a length of your choosing. Fork over the soil at the base to make it nice and loose so the beans can thrive. Scatter some manure or compost at the bottom of the trench then leave the soil to settle for a week before planting.
Before planting you also need to construct some supports or use premade ones. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to supports for beans, including wigwams, bean netting, simple canes and more. The exact placement depends on the method you choose.
Seeding Or Transplantation?
As far as runner beans go, you can do either one of the two, and I’ll cover both methods. However, I do prefer seeding runner beans since they germinate well and quickly and don’t respond well to transplantation.
Sowing Indoors And Transplanting
Fill some 3-inch pots with moist compost and sow one seed in each of the pots at a depth of 2 inches. Water them well and grow them in a warm spot, possibly a greenhouse. Gradually harden off the plants before transplanting them into the soil when there’s no more risk of frost.
Transplanting is a simple process that you can see in action here.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the preferable course of action. The beans should be sown during May or July at a depth of 2 inches at least 12 inches apart with at least 16 inches of space between the rows. If you want to help them germinate better, you should leave the seeds to soak in water for 30 minutes before you plant them.
The exact spacing and positioning might differ if you’re using certain methods of support for your runner beans, but that’s about it.
Just make sure to plant some extra seeds at the end of each row so you can fill out the spots where the seeds failed to germinate.
The Simple Way To Take Care Of Your Runner Beans
As I mentioned, runner beans are quite easy to grow, and there’s not a lot of maintenance needed.
The most important thing you need to remember is to water your beans regularly, especially when they start flowering. One or two gallons per each square yard each three to four days is an appropriate amount.
Spreading organic mulch around the base of the plants will help with feeding them and keeping the weeds out. Regular weeding is still recommended.
You also might need to help young plants stick to their supports. This can be achieved by tying them to the supports for a short while – after that, they will stick to them on their own. Consider keeping them tied if you live in a particularly windy area.
Once the plants reach the top of the supports, you should cut off the growing tips so the plant will spend more energy on flowering and developing pods. Make sure that the beans don’t overgrow in other places as well.
As far as diseases and pests go, there are only a few that might pose a problem. Beware of slugs and snails that might feed on the young plants – you can see they’ve been there by their trails. Use beer traps or eggshell barriers to keep them out. Black bean aphids might also be an issue, and you can keep them away by pinching out infected tips and squashing them early.
Halo blight is the most notable disease, identified by brown spots on the leaves surrounded by golden halos. If it occurs, there’s nothing to be done but to destroy the plant – it means the seeds were infected from the start.
Easy-peasy, eh? Well, not exactly, these are beans, not peas, but it still counts. As you can see, growing running beans is not difficult at all, and it’s highly rewarding.
If you have any questions you would like to ask or just want to share something with us, the comment section below is open to you.