Runner beans

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Hugh Murrers
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Runner beans

Post: #280549 Hugh Murrers
Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:07 pm

This feels like a stupid question but I've looked all over the forum and I can't find an answer. I planted a row of runner beans (don't know what kind as the seeds were given to me by the same person who told me about the courgettes). They are all growing up vertical stakes (about 2 metres high) and it looks like they are doing OK (I think). They have lots of red flowers and there are small beans devloping about midway up. What I don't know about is the tops which are way taller than the stakes. Should I have cut off the tips that are higher than the stakes and can I still do it now if I should have done?

Incidentally, the row is 5 metres long. Is that OK for the two of us or has Mr Courgette Man got me again?

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Green Aura
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Re: Runner beans

Post: #280551 Green Aura
Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:50 pm

I leave the tops alone, they've never caused any bother for us.

I have a rather nifty little chart which I found on the internet which is re-printed from a book called "Organic Gardening" by Roy Lacey.

It suggests

Runner: 1 double row, 60cm (2ft) apart, when grown up a support. On the flat, 4 single rows, 60cm (2ft) apart. Seeds 30cm (1ft) apart. Pick 226g (1/2lb) per person.


for a family of two adults and 3 children - his rows are 4.5m long

So a 5m row sounds about right, for two adults. Keep picking regularly, even if you're fed up with them you can blanch and freeze, lacto-ferment or add them to chutneys - and you can always supply nice neighbours.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Odsox
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Re: Runner beans

Post: #280554 Odsox
Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:46 pm

I wouldn't worry about the tops, they will eventually flop down when the beans start to grow on them, making them easy to pick.

You don't say where you are located Hugh, it makes a difference whether you're up in the Shetlands or down in the south as to the amount of bean plants needed (I assume you are in the UK).
When I grew runners I planted an early wigwam assembly of (I think) 10 canes, so 10 plants. Then I planted another one exactly the same later which carried on from the first crop and gave the two of us beans until November. The further north you live the shorter the season and the likelihood of a frost killing them early, in which case grow twice as many so that you can preserve some, like Green Aura advises.
The first wigwam plants were raised in the greenhouse in pots and planted out in early May, and the 2nd lot were sown direct in the soil in mid June.
Those plants produced enough beans to feed the 2 of us about 3 times a week, so we didn't get fed up with them and the other veg growing at the same time didn't go to waste.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

ojay54
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Re: Runner beans

Post: #280563 ojay54
Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:00 am

Hugh,before the inevitable Hosepipe Ban,spray your bean flowers in the evenings,when it's been a dry day.This ancient tip (my Grandad, had me spraying his with a bucket and stirrup pump!) seems to help the flowers set,and you'll get a larger crop.

Hugh Murrers
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Re: Runner beans

Post: #280571 Hugh Murrers
Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:22 pm

Thanks for the tips :iconbiggrin:

Ojay54 - when you say spray, I'm assuming you mean with water?
Green Aura - I'm going to have to look lacto ferment up. But we're both bean lovers, so preserving might not be needed.
Odsox - I'm in the north Midlands where we don't get extremes of anything and the seasons change slowly, if that helps.

Does it matter a lot which variety of runner bean I plant?


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