Runner Beans

Hi All,

Turned over a small area of land today where I had last years runner beans. Up came with a spade full of earth this:


 I didn't know they had such large roots.

My question is, if I had left it in the soil would a new healthy crop yielding vine have emerged.

Or have I done the right thing in digging them up. As I was led to believe it's not good practice to grow the same crops in the same place year after year?


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    They are perennial in their native habitat, Andrew, but the cold and wet usually kills them in the UK.  I had a few re-shoot and grow well several years ago, probably after a dry, mild winter.  Stick them in pots of moist compost and see what happens! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Instead of pots could they be placed in the soil in another spot?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Yes, but that would reduce their chances as soil contains a lot of things which could lead to their demise (fungal spores, slugs etc.)

    Edit: only worth trying if they are still firm and show no sign of rot etc.  It takes a rare set of circumstances for them to survive here.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Many thanks.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Do let us know if you try this and it works?  I've never had such sturdy looking roots on my runners - it has been a mild and wet winter to date, so maybe they would stand a chance.  I did not know they were perennial in their native habitat - which is where please BobtG?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Central and south America (in the mountainous areas I believe), Bookertoo.  They've been cultivated for millennia there.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • daituomdaituom Posts: 83

    As with all peas and beans, runner beans trap nitrogen from the atmosphere, hence the swollen roots. Put them in the compost bin and grow fresh this year.

  • scrogginscroggin Posts: 2,049

    I love growing plants from seed so I too would add them to the compost as in a normal British winter they would'nt survive.


  • There's no harm in trying so I will put one in a pot and the other in the ground and see what happens. I have plenty of space so there's no problem there.

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