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Runner Beans

I grew an excellent row of runner beans but much of the first blossom failed to set due, I believe, to the almost total lack of bees.  I would occasionally see one on the row.  Is it probable or even possible to pollinate by using a very small paint brush on future occasions ?  More beans are now setting.  Could this be due to wind pollination ?



  • Hello, Howard

    IMHO people plant/sow their runner beans far too early, resulting in the problem you mention. The problem isn't because of the lack of bees, it's the lack of moisture in the  atmosphere that's resulting  in the flowers not setting....this can be alleviated to some extent by mist spraying with water.

    Around the middle of next month when the nights become a little cooler and we get early morning dew, you will notice a substantial improvement. 

  • Thanks for your reply David.  I will bare your advice in mind and will restrain from sowing too early next year !  I will also try the spraying.


    Thanks Again



  • No prob, Howard. It's been a bone of contention with me for a long time that the garden centres cajole gardeners into buying plants far too early in the season.....of course they're more than happy to sell replacements when the originals have failed.

    Runner beans....sowing the seed in the open around the middle of May is about right for most parts of the UK.

    As it happens, my own runner beans sown on May 12th failed to germinate. The second sowing, at the end of May have now reached the top of their poles, flowering freely and setting the first beans.

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,491

    I agree there David, I take off the first flowers anyway, because they are usually no good and that gives the plant chance to strengthen up.

    Is it only me that nips out the middle to make a double shoot, my dads advice, says all the old gardeners used to do it. It does seem to make stronger shoots, I dont know, I only take his advice and do it!

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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