Thursday, 29 April 2010

Growing Guide - Runner Beans

Growing From Seed – Indoors

Runner Beans beans are not hardy plants so it is always best to start them off indoors, be this a greenhouse or a sunny window ledge. You are best to start planting between March and May. Seeds should be planted one seed per cell, if using a divided tray and four seeds to a 9cm (3 1/2inch) pot. Plant your seeds around 2.5cm (1 inch) deep and ensure they are covered in compost. Water well and place them in your chosen sprouting location. Sprouting will take 7-10 days.

If using a propagator remove the seedlings as soon as the seedlings emerge and place them on a windowsill or greenhouse bench to avoid them going leggy.

Time to Plant Out

Runner beans do best in a nice sunny spot, if you are going for the full sized climbing varieties you may wish to take into account the wind factor as well. Runner beans like a nice rich soil so prepare with some nicely, well-rotted garden compost, fertiliser or farmyard manure.

By Mid May seedlings should be strong enough to be moved into a cold frame or just a sheltered part of your garden. By the end of May and towards the beginning of June the plants should be well acclimatised and ready for planting into their final position. If they are a climbing variety they may be quite large by now.

Plant about 15cm (6 inches) apart and space the rows around 45cm (18 inches) apart. For the climbing beans provide a cane of approximately 6 feet. You can plant one or two plants per cane successfully.

Plants should be watered well and ensure they receive enough water during any dry spells.

Harvest Time

Once the pods are around 8cm (3 inches) long they are ready to harvest. Ideally it is best to check the plants every couple of days to remove any that are the right size. When they start to produce they will do so quickly, and as a result if beans are left on the plant they will not produce as many flowers or pods.

Growing Guide at a Glance
Sow -In
Sow -Out


  1. I always do well with my runner beans...i am planting out mine tonight and I am expecting great things from them...i have just a handful left from last year so I hope they grow quick!!

  2. My mum is the queen of the runner beans! She always gets SO many, she has enough to freeze for the whole year and some to give away! I'll need to get some photos from her.... and tips!


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