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Growing Beans - climbing, also Pole beans, Runner beans, Scarlet Runners

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                  P P P

(Best months for growing Beans - climbing in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 61°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 4 - 8 inches apart
  • Harvest in 9-11 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Sweetcorn, spinach, lettuce, summer savory, dill, carrots, brassicas, beets, radish, strawberry, cucumbers, zucchini, tagates minuta (wild marigold)
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Alliums (Chives, leek, garlic, onions), Florence fennel
  • A few young Scarlet Runners
    A few young Scarlet Runners
  • Purple climbing beans
    Purple climbing beans

Grow beans up fences, trellis, sweet corn, trees. Almost anywhere can be 'vertically productive'.

Keep well watered and pick regularly to encourage new flowers. Watch out for snails, as they will eat through the stems near ground level, and will completely eat newly sprouted beans. If you have nice new beans plants one day, and none the next, then it is probably slugs or snails.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Beans - climbing

Use young in salads - blanch and cool. Will freeze well.

Your comments and tips

27 Feb 17, Mike Empson (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
For two years, we have grown scarlet runners on a 2Mtr high frame with pipe outers and wire netting. The plants grow very prolifically, and the harvest was good, but lately the bean pods are significantly reduced in number. They get well-watered, and we pick regularly (perhaps not as frequently as we should) but the beans are tough to eat and quite large. The plant is flourishing well, so is it advisable to trim the tops of the runners, or should we let them grow unrestricted? If we trim them, will the plant still develop? We live in Howick.
02 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Short pods on healthy plants could be caused by poor pollination due to heat. Beans are a warm season crop but pollination and bean set on climbers like Scarlet Runner can be reduced on very hot days. I have seen Scarlet Runner with some good pods then a gap on the flower spike where the beans didn't set pods then more pods. Beans are self pollinating and don't set on very hot days. I presume the plants are growing from a root that has been in the ground for a number of seasons. As you suggest, regularly picking is a must to stop beans going tough. Cutting back the tops of the runners will reduce your harvest in the short term but will encourage denser growth and may make the plants more manageable. I trust this helps. Maybe another reader has some ideas to solve your problem.
04 Jan 17, Bob Morrow (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Have been growing Scarlet runner beans for 30 years but the past 2 years have not been able to get any flowers leave a loan not one bean plant above 1 foot.We have had up to 20mm rain here in New Plymouth just about every second day so I have put it down to that the ground has been to wet not only but have pulled out only to find Eel worms chewing on the roots.I have gone and brought some new plants from our Mitre 10 hoping these will grow for me.Can you explain as why I have not had any beans the past couple years.
01 Aug 15, mary farmer (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
why do my scarlet runners that have grown very well in the green house, not borne any flowers, they got to a height of 5/6 feet and looked very healthy.?

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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