Charlotte had a call for help this week and it was all about runner beans. For those of you thinking of planting them and perhaps wondering about their aftercare, read on because help is at hand.
Ask the Expert Query
Hi Charlotte we would like to grow some runner beans with the kids this summer.
- Can we plant the beans directly into the soil or should we chit them first and then grow in pots before planting out?
Answer: Runner beans are fine to sow directly into a well prepared seedbed. We often dig some bokashi bran into the seedbed as it keeps the soil fresh and clean. Runner beans can be grown in pots first but this isn’t essential. Also they don’t require chitting before sowing.
- We are going away next weekend for a fortnight , so should we wait until we get back before planting the beans so that we can water/watch over them? Or is it okay to leave them for a fortnight when newly planted?
Answer: They can be left whilst you are way but you could take some steps to keep them moist. Start by giving them a good watering before you leave. To retain water you can cover with a mulch such as composted bark. Alternatively you can place a cane in the ground next to the seed and put a plastic pot on top of it. Water then condenses inside the pot, particularly at night and then will drip down the cane onto the ground, keeping the area around the seed moist. Also remember you can water with garden yoghurt throughout the season.
- Finally is it best to grow up a bamboo wigwam type structure or are there other alternatives?
Answer: Runner beans require a supporting structure to grow up, so it is worth putting this in place at the time when you sow the seeds. This can be a wigwam of canes or a trellis. The main thing is to make sure the structure is fairly strong and tall enough. The plants can get quite heavy when laiden with beans and some varieties can grow up to 7 feet tall.
If you have any tricky gardening questions you would like some help with, why not get in touch at Ask the Expert. Happy Gardening!