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What to do with my runner bean seeds?

Hi guys

Ive just been collecting seed from my runner beans. What shall I do with them? Save them until next spring, or is it possible to plant them earlier for an early harvest? If so, should I grow them indoors and then plant out in... November? Or just plant straight in the ground?

Also, do you leave your bean frames up during the winter, or do you dismantle and then put back up in the spring? Ive just got a simple one made from cane which is a few triangle shapes with a horizontal bar across the top. I suppose if I can over-winter runner beans then I should leave it up.

Any thought/advice welcome.


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,933
    As long as your seeds are not from an F1 variety of runners they'll be fine to use.
    Any hint of frost will kill them, so sow them after all chances of frost have passed, so that's next year now.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,860
    edited September 2022
    I sow mine in mid May and plant out mid June.  They’ll be no saving or extending times by planting runners early. 
    As you’re on the warmer side of the moor you may get away with sowing 1st May and planting out 1st June.  Other than that, the night temperature will see them off. 

    Edit…. I never save seed, for 99p for about 50,  I’d rather buy the variety I want just in case. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks. Ive just been watching Charles Dowding recent video on the subject:

    Good point about them being F1. I cant remember where I got the young bean plants, so perhaps they are F1.

    Im glad I posted on here before I planted them next week!  :D 

    @Lyn: Im on a valley floor - all the cold air sinks into the valley, so perhaps similar coldness to your side of the moors. This morning I had condensation on the bedroom windows for the first time since early spring.  :(

    Im pretty sure what I want to grow next year, so Ill give some thought about the exact variety of each. Regards carrots, Ive grown Autumn Kings for all the years Ive been gardening (3! :D ) so next year Ill try a different variety!

  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,460
    tuffnelljohn  You may be interested in this format.  24 plants in one square yard with everlasting 'stcks'.
  • Most of our runner bean seeds get dried and eaten over the winter, with the largest kept as seed to sow in the spring...
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,860
    A lot of people do Stephen.   I prefer to buy the ones I want so I know that’s what I’ll get,  bit pot luck with some saved seeds.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,460
    StephenSouthwest  At the risk of being a Phillistine the ones you see in the pic above are a total hotch potch of varieties.  Some years I buy a packet, but mostly I grow from saved seed of which I have several pounds.  Germination isn't always good but, by regular sowings in trays from mid-March onwards, we always have more than enough for the two of us and the odd neighbour.
  • bédébédé Posts: 2,977
    Did you know that runner beans are perennials?  Best to dig up the tubers like dahlias and store dry-ish over winter. Ready for a quick start late May.  Might be left in the ground if well frost protected.

    I've tried this but I think I got a better yield from seed-grown plants.
     location: Surrey Hills, England, ex-woodland acidic sand.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • Last year's runners overwintered in the veg patch this year. However they were slower to crop than the new sowing (both ‘Moonlight’) … they did crop, but despite being fed and watered, they were nothing like as prolific as this year’s sowing.  

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

  • What would you say a good runner bean variety is? (flavour, yield etc). Would I be better off buying an heirloom type?
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