Runner beans or no?

I have a love-hate relationship with Runner Beans. Every year I draw up my masterplan and omit Runner Beans – this is because we can’t eat them as fast as the plant produces them and I hate to see veg go to waste. Plus I’m not wholly convinced that I like the taste of them. But it gets to about this time of year when I see everyone else erecting their lovely bean poles and wigwams and I think, bah! I want to grow some Runner Beans. But of course I haven’t created a festering bean trench full of lovely kitchen waste and ready for some hungry beans. If you’re in the same boat never fear! You can do a ‘quick job’ on the bean trench in the following way.

Emergency Runner Bean Trench

  • Dig a trench 60cm deep
  • Lay some well-rotted compost in it
  • Cover it with soil and lightly dig in some pelleted chicken manure
  • Water it and leave it for two weeks before you plant your beans

Right then, better sow some Runner Beans…

12 Comments on “Runner beans or no?

  1. Never done the bean trench bit, always have loads of beans! I grow ‘painted lady’ because they have red & white flowers! I plant in pots in mid May & plant out anytime in the next week or so (they are ready now but might get blown/washed out of the ground. Up here in t’north they should be ready about mid August & will produce loads of beans until probably the end of September. We do like the taste when fresh, but frozen is a big NO & drying was OK ish, but I tend not to bother. I have grown a succesion of dwarf beans (different types from a Dobies mix pack) because they freeze (it says) & should give us a few earlier beans.

  2. I’ve never liked them and we had tonnes of them when I was a kid. I’m growing them though ’cause it’s just something you do when you’re a lottie owner! A bit like broad beans. YAK.
    I fully intend to curry most of them with this Navratan Korma recipe:

  3. I planted a row of dwarf beans about a month ago, and not one of the little buggers has come up!

  4. I happen to love pole beans but also love the fact that they are just so easy and prolific that they make me feel like quite the green thumb.

    What about a variety like Scarlet runner beans or a purple podded type. That way if they go to waste, at least you got a grand show…

  5. I know what you mean about runner beans. My hubby asked me why I was planting them the other week when I still have a freezer full of the damn things from last year. He just doesn’t get it.

    I reckon if we could figure out how to make biofuel out of runner beans and courgettes we could solve the fuel crisis like that.

  6. Ok, I’m going to be a geeky veg grower here, the picture that you have used for this article shows you sowing what looks like Borlotto beans NOT runner beans. I might be wrong but thought I’d be a geek and say!! (P.S. I am one of your most avid fans so this is said with love not venim!)

  7. I have planted my Scarlet Runner Beans for the hummingbirds on a garden arch. I do that every year. We don’t eat them though. I save seed for next year and give most away to friends. The bean we love to eat are the Romanos pole. I planted them last weekend and anxiously await for them to mature!

  8. Aren’t the roots of the beans good for your soil anyway… nitrogen fixers isn’t it? And the flowers definitely attract the bees to your plot. Slugs tend to eat them before they go for much else… well on my patch anyway. So, even if you never eat another bean you’re perfectly justified in growing them and composting the beans I reckon.

    Personally I love the things. This is my fave recipe:

    Slice and par-boil (or steam) the beans; cool quickly. Mix with thinly sliced red onion, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, salt, pepper, and slice out the orange from the skin professional-chef style and chop and add that too. Leave it all in an airtight container in the fridge to mingle and eat with anything. Delicious! (Can’t remember quantities – sorry!)

  9. Just found your site, wow (now its on favorites), keep up the good work. Runner beans! I used to have a Greengrocers and a half acre walled garden, so every year I grew 10 x 60ft rows and they were always grown the same way. NO TRENCHES, but always given a top dressing (mulch) of well rotted horse muck. The seed was sown in pots half way through April and kept in the greenhouse until planted out. As soon as the growth started from the seed leaves the top was pinched out, which usually produced 2 side shoots, when they had produced 2 leaves they in turn were pinched out and so on, even when they were plantd out. You don’t lose any time, because the plant thinks “I am going to die” so it sends out flower stems from all leaf axils, and the more stems there are, the more leaf axils therefore more flowers and fruit. The plants were planted next to a VERTICAL 8ft poles sunk into the ground about a foot deep, 21inches between plants and 5foot between rows. It sounds extreme but by the end of the season I could only just get a wheelbarrow between the rows. If because of the weight one of the poles broke in the autumn gales, it was an easy enough job to pick it up and push it back into the ground. Last year I took on an allotment and Grew 8 plants the same way as above but in a raised bed (1 row). As it was for our own consumption I didn’t feed them, but still had a crop of 78 pounds of beans (old weighing habits die hard), with other crops it was far to much, so this year, much to my fellow Allotment holders ammusement I am only growing 2 plants which, to date has given us just on 2 pounds of beans albeit the first pickings were small, but now it looks like we will have to have beans every 3 days whether we want them or not. (roll on the first frost)
    Didn’t mean it about the frost.

  10. I am trying to make a southern recipe that calls for “pole beans”. Can I use runner beans or are those different?

  11. I always assumed that Pole Beans were climbing French Beans which are slightly thinner that Runners. But the tastes are so similar that I would have not hesitation in substituting one for the other. Good luck!

  12. befour i put runner plants in i scatered blood fish and bone meal and lime pellets in ground.acidentley i through to much now lefes are going white and dying of.would this cause this problem and will beans be ok.HELP