I’ve been growing runner beans for over twenty-five years and I thought I’d got the process down to perfection – info here on how I dig my runner bean trench. I try to make the most of my raised beds, so grow various other things alongside the runner beans, mainly sweet peas, which seem to grow happily beside the beans.
Every year I also plant some small plants under the runner bean wigwam. Usually Swiss Chard or something like that which can grow quietly while the runner beans are developing and then come into their own when I take the wigwam down after the first frosts. This year I put in some baby broccoli seedlings. Here’s what the looked like in April:
And here’s what the look like now:
Absolute monsters, crowding out the runner beans, which are valiantly still trying to grow at the top of the poles, not yet finished off by some cold nights. The beans have not been too bad this year but it certainly hasn’t been their best year. The broccoli has been pretty productive though and hopefully will keep on giving right through to the spring. It’s also very beautiful, sharing the glory with the sweet peas here:
Meanwhile, down at the allotment, last year’s broccoli has kept going all summer and has now produced seeds, which I’ll save for next year’s crop:
And then, I found a whole lot of unidentified seeds at the bottom of my seed box, mostly rainbow chard, I think. I sowed the whole lot in a small pot just to see what would come up:
About half of these are rainbow chard. You may be able to see their red and yellow stems. I’ve planted them out in a raised bed under a cloche in the hope that they’ll survive the winter. The other half though, look suspiciously like yet more broccoli. I’m going to have to find somewhere else to plant these next year.