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How do you support Runner Beans?

Have just watched Gardeners World programme that was filmed just before Easter and I noticed Monty making an 'A' frame to support the plants. For some years now I have set my bean sticks? poles? canes? in an 'X' formation with the lateral cane at about waist height which means as the plants climb and flowers set the beans are hanging (mostly) on the outside of the canes and are much easier to reach and pick. I've also seen wigwam shapes and just simply vertical canes but the most common I think is the traditional 'A' frame format. Anyone have any alternative ideas? John Harding


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,916
    I remember you describing your method a while back
    I did consider it ... but as a triangle is such a stable construction I’ve decided to stick 😉 with either A frame in a row or teepee/wigwam.  The wind in this garden can be quite gusty. I really don’t have a problem accessing the beans for picking. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,305
    I just use a row of very stout 8ft bamboo canes the tops of which lean against the back of my pergola.
    It does get a mess by late summer and a huge tangle of bean plants at the top, especially when mature and the side shoots start to scramble over the pergola. It just means picking is a bit more of a challenge, but they're so productive I get more than enough for me, my dog, family, friends and neighbours.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,652
    I have two big A-frames made from roofing battens which I fix to the sides of my raised beds. Then I attach bamboo canes to them in a double A frame. Bamboo alone in any shape can't stand up to the wind here with a fully grow runner bean plant acting like a sail. I've tried them all and they all either snapped or blew over come the August thunder storms
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,916
    I wish I could get hold of proper hazel bean poles from coppiced woodland like we used to get when I lived on a farm.  You can find them online but they’re few and far between and the transport is difficult or costly. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • John HardingJohn Harding Posts: 497
    Hi Dove,
    Just goes to show what happens to the little grey cells when you pass 70! I had completely forgotten the post I made about this a couple of years ago!

    I am fortunate to have a hazel hedge at the bottom of my garden so can cut sticks from there when I need them. Had to revert to bamboo canes this year though as last year a neighbour at the bottom knocked on the door and asked "If he paid for it would I permit him to cut the hedge down a bit as it was putting a lot of shade to his garden?"  I said OK but I didn't think about loss of potential bean sticks. Hedge is growing again now so maybe next year I'll cut a few before he asks again! John H
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,674
    I use sycamore saplings... they only last one year as they get very brittle as they dry but work fine for a free pest that I need to remove anyway. I do a line of A's with a pole across the top, as it is very windy here I also add guy ropes.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,934
    edited May 2019
    Two 4 x 4 posts in ground supporting a wire field fencing. 
    My dad constructed it in 1986 and this winter one of the post rotted out and collapsed.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited May 2019
    I send them £5 a month via a standing order;  I know it's not much but hope it helps some of them to avoid becoming stringy.  :D
    Seriously though, made a treated timber and galvanised wire frame about 15 years ago.  It is screwed to stakes which get replaced every few years when they rot:
    Last year's stems just pulled off.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Womble54Womble54 Posts: 348
    I’ve previously just done bamboo cane wigwams, but you’re right they do get congested at the top. This year I’ve bought a cheap rose arch and added some extra wire.

    I’m growing French beans up it this year rather than runners. It gives some space underneath to grow some peas and broad beans.

    Runner beans have been relegated to a little corner to grow up a wooden arch that I’ve got over my bbq. I’ve only done 3 runner bean plants as we prefer to eat French beans to runners. I’m hoping they’re far enough away from the bbq that the heat doesn’t kill them. We shall see.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    edited May 2019
    I support mine by clapping and cheering and waving my scarf. 
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