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Runner beans

Hi there I'm new to the forum.
On gardners world last week Monty pointed out that it's too early to sow runner beans.
Just to say mine have been in since March.
We are located in South Wales at a height of 1200 feet but the advantage we have is the use of a very large South facing wall to which we attach the hazel poles, I know this is unconventional but it works for us.
On cooler evenings we unroll a fleece to protect from early frost.
I have enclosed two photos one of this years plants and one of last years as you can see from the latter
This method is quite successful.


  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,049
    Perhaps he means direct sowing, mine are always in modules, I live in the SE UK 10 minutes by car from the sea, considered very sheltered, mine get hardend off in May in dont go out proper till beginning of June.If it works for you, keep doing it.  I have a friendher Hubby sows cucumber seeds, the greenhouse variety, which say to sow in April, at a temp of between 18-25, in a greenhouse, which you could say is just about frost free, they are about 8 inches tall, the laws of logic say this isnt possible!
  • No I actually sow in second week of  March in family size yogurt  pots which I pop in a propagator and place on a window sill above a radiator.
    Once around four inches I place on a window sill of a unheated bedroom, a week later and they're out. (Planted on in buckets two parts soil to one part compost, see photo)
    I use yogurt pots because of the depth which allows for vigorous root growth.
    Nothing special, the young plants are treated quite harshly. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 80,490
    edited April 2020
    Good morning @chrisaquaclean and welcome to the forum 😊 

    Having the radiated heat from that south facing wall, and the fact that the black buckets will absorb a lot of warmth, means that you have a good microclimate to suit runner beans ... lucky you 👍 I bet they take quite a bit of watering. 

    Here we’re on shallow free draining gritty loam on chalk, and that, coupled with the presence of a large ash tree nearby, means that our beans need a lot of watering here in ‘dry’ East Anglia. 

    The fact that we also get cold air/wind moving inland from the chilly North Sea means that I will only be sowing my beans indoors this weekend and not planting out until the end of May. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Just spotted flower buds opening on my beans (see photo). Shouldn't be long now!
    Resident 🐝' s waiting with baited breath!
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,162
    Frankly, Chris, when broadcasting to the whole of the UK, a man of his standing should know better than to voice such a broad statement without provisos.
  • The bees are under contract 😂
  • Hi everyone just an update on my runners.
    With the great weather beans up around 8ft plenty of flowers.
    Watering 3 times a day.
    Sacrificial Gilliflower, Dame's rocket, Hesperis matronalis In full bloom ready to take the flack of many a caterpillar they seem to prefer these highly scented biennials.

    Seems it all about preparation so much for provisos Nick!

  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,162
    Just out of interest, @chrisaquaclean, is there a reason why you go for this method instead of in the ground?  There's absolutely NO doubt as to your success but I'd be concerned that you probably have to replace canes every couple of years, PLUS the amount of watering you have to do.  I grow 24 plants in one square yard of ground.  My 'sticks' are everlasting and I don't water once the little plants are established.
  • Pure chance Nick.
    I was given a handful of beans some years back & instead of keeping the seeds I planted & poped on a warm window sill above a radiator.
    I didn't get any advice & didn't read any literature on the subject, which I wouldn't recommend.
    As soon as I thought they were ready approximately 5 inches I shot them straight out!

    At the time the garden wasn't cultivated & the only space available was on a South facing wall the only problem bedrock just below the surface hense the buckets!
    At the time lots of gardners who past by informed me of my folly - hardening off what's that?
    Over the years it's become something of a talking point as all the growers in the area plant out nearly two months after myself.
    My beans have been out with snow on the ground, granted over the years I've tweaked my method as I cannot control the weather but it just goes to show sometimes the established thinking isn't always right!

    To be fair yours is probably the better method as my way is labour intensive but it works for me.

  • mikeymustardmikeymustard Posts: 495
    Sounds like you've got the perfect setup for your particular situation. Even without your own personal microclimate, one day last week when we in Cheltenham woke up to a 0⁰ frost, our bread delivery driver from a Welsh depot said it was 7⁰ when he set out, and a few minutes over the border his thermometer started plummeting! 
    Just proves Wales truly is god's own country - unfortunately he's a rain god! :wink:
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