As far as I’m concerned – this year has been an exceptional one for runner beans. I only planted out ten plants; two each of five varieties. The usual method of growing up canes was changed – I grew them straight up over a nylon net with cross-pieces as support. This meant that the beans hung down rather than inwards on the usual sloping cane method, and it doesn’t take up as much space. You know how difficult it is to find all the beans that are inside the wigwam or cross-cane tied-at-the-top method – this way I haven’t missed any, so none have grown to a huge size to stop production of other beans. After they had established and started climbing I mulched with grass clippings and made sure I watered every day. The trench they grew in was filled with well-rotted horse manure and topped with home-made compost.
There are still a few flowers left to be pollinated right at the top – the plants have been covered in bees for weeks.
To be honest, I have more beans than I know what to do with – friends and neighbours have benefitted from the bean bounty.
And still they keep on coming – I have been harvesting a few pounds weight every day – I definitely have a surfeit that I just don’t know what to do with – the freezer is full. Maybe I could add them to picalilli or runner bean chutney. We have them with our meals two or three times a week, and although I love them to death and could eat bucketsful – it is starting to wear a bit thin. I can hear my husband thinking – Oh no – not beans again. But what a nice position to be in - and all for so little effort really. Definitely a must-have crop for me.