How to Grow Runner Beans – Simple Guide for Beginners
Runner beans are easy to grow and you can confidently do it without sweating a lot. But it is still a must that you learn how to grow runner beans. Let’s read some quick facts, planting steps and harvest tips.
- Scientific Name: phaseolus coccineus
- Family - Fabaceae or legume
- Growing Period - late April to July
- Difficulty - easy
- Varieties - white lady AGM, hestia, St. George, white apollo AGM
The Best Time to Sow Runner Beans
You have to start sowing somewhere between mid or late April and May. It is a perfect period in which the sun is out, while temperature is not too high. However, you may also plant early July. As long as you harvest before frost, timing should not be a big problem.
The Perfect Location to Grow Runner Beans
Weather and the type of soil are the main factors concerning how to grow runner beans. Heavy or well-drained soil is definitely recommended. For areas, it must be a partially shaded spot. It’s also a good idea to plant in a trench with water. Nevertheless, the environmental condition has to be warm for better germination.
The Simple Steps to Grow Runner Beans
1. Prepare and Improve the Soil
During the earliest weeks of spring, the soil tends to be wet and heavy. You can pre-warm it by covering cloches or plastic materials a month before sowing.
Before the first initial sowing, soil must be added with organic matter to increase the pH level. It’s important to maintain neutral level, which is between 6.5 and 7. You may also add lime to the soil to lessen acid.
2. Create a Support System
This kind of vegetable tend to climb as it grows. In that case, you need a support and it’s better that you prepare this beforehand. Simply build an A-frame support with the use of hazel poles, bamboo canes, or any thin woods. Using a netting for beans and peas is also a good option, especially if you plan to sow a large area of this vegetable. If the plant has grown over the support material, remove a part on top so it doesn’t become too heavy that may cause falling down and potentially damaged the beans.
3. Sow Seeds
Seeds can be bought at local garden shops or collected from leftovers. These should be buried in small pots or a raised bed with the right soil. Dig 2 inches deep and place a handful of seeds. Cover, add organic compost and pour a little water.
For the first few weeks, it is best that you place them somewhere in a sheltered position or a greenhouse. Once they grow for about 3 inches tall, you have to transplant them outside in full sun.
4. Water Regularly
Adding water to the soil is a basic task on how to grow runner beans. It doesn’t need to every day but plenty of water is needed after 3 to 4 days. Since this is during April to September or as far as October, most days are warm and hot. It can easily dry the plant and that’s the last thing you should allow.
5. Observe Pests and Problems
It is incomplete knowing how to grow runner beans without the things to watch out for. Although easy to grow, this vegetable can be easily damaged by a few insects and diseases.
One common problem a gardener may face is the delay of setting pods. This is usually a result of insufficient water.
Another problem is the few number or zero beans. Mostly, it is caused by lack of moisture (again that’s water) or decreased/poor pollination by insects, particularly bees.
Aphids, slugs and snails are insects that normally like to thrive in runner beans. You can easily prevent their infestation by spraying a trusted natural insecticides or simply pull them out of the leaves and branches, but the former is the best option to eliminate eggs.
Halo blight is a common bacterial disease causing brown spots on leaves. Believe it or not, this is developed from the seeds, mostly if not properly stored before harvest. To avoid this, soak the seeds in clean water before planting. You also have to thoroughly check each seed for any unusual appearance, such as color and shape, and only use the unblemished ones.
You also check for any weeds (learn how to remove pokeweed here ). They can outgrow your runner beans.
The Right Way to Harvest Runner Beans
Harvesting is involved when getting to know how to grow runner beans. Indications are simple, which include the length about 6 to 8 inches and pale color of the seeds.
It’s effortless to remove the beans by simply snapping them out of the plant. All collected beans should be stored properly in dry place.