Now is the perfect time to sow French, climbing and runner beans into pots under cover. It’s a great year to do it, as 2017 has been declared Year of the Bean, so there are loads of new varieties to try plus old heritage favourites returning to our shelves too!
Sow runner beans
Most climbing beans are frost tender, so it’s worth waiting till late spring to sow as the risk of late frost is much lower. Sow about 5cm deep in small pots or root trainer modules (available at our garden centre here in London) which allow them the long root run they prefer.
Seedlings should appear within about 10 days. Once they develop their first true leaves, harden them off in a cold frame ready for planting out next month. While you’re waiting, get supports in place. A wigwam or obelisk is ideal for smaller quantities or when growing in pots; on an allotment you can build yourself an A-frame bean support with canes. Plant two or three beans to each upright and tie them in as they grow. You’ll be picking French climbing beans by early July with runner beans following a few weeks later to keep you in delicious fresh green pods through till autumn.