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Runner beans are one of the most popular vegetables to grow in your own back garden, because they’re incredibly easy to maintain and yield a large amount of beans for a small plant. Now that winter is behind us, you might be thinking about tidying up your garden, ready for the summer. If you decide to plant runner beans, when should you think about popping them in the soil?
Runner beans are an incredibly versatile plant that’s absolutely perfect for beginner gardeners.
You can mould them to follow along some trellising, or simply to grow upwards.
They’re also an ideal ornamental plant as they produce small, pretty flowers that highlight their abundant yield of beans.
The vegetables will also contain to grow over a number of months, if the plant is properly looked after.
When to plant runner beans
If you’re hoping to grow some runner beans this year, you may have to wait a few months before planting them.
The best time to plant runner beans is between June and July, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
They’re very vulnerable to the frost, so you’ll want to make sure there’s no morning frost left in the season before popping them in the soil.
Of course, you’ll want to sow your runner beans before you plant them, regardless.
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It’s best to sow your beans indoors between April and May, on a windowsill or propagator.
You’ll need to acclimatise young plants to outdoor temperatures before planting them straight into the soil.
Alternatively, you can sow your runner beans straight into the soil outdoors from the end of May.
It’s still a good idea to sow one bean per small pot, and then place the pots somewhere that’s got plenty of shelter.
“Once the plants reach 8cm [3in] tall, plant them into their final positions. This will be in June or July,” said the RHS.
“Alternatively, sow directly in the ground from mid-May to late June.
“Sow two seeds at the base of each cane (see below), 5cm (2in) deep and spaced 15cm (6in) apart.
“Thin to one seedling per cane, and protect plants from slugs and snails.”
As the plant starts to grow, you’ll need some kind of support system in place, because they’ve very good climbers.
You can use a bamboo cane, bean netting, or even a wigwam-style structure to keep your plant in place.
You’ll also need to pinch out the top of the plant when it reaches the height of the support, otherwise it will keep growing and become very top-heavy.
Runner beans need large quantities of water throughout the season. Ideally they’d need between five and nine litres of water every three to four days.
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