Runner Bean Support Ideas

Runner beans can be one of the most rewarding vegetables to grow at home. If given enough water and nutrients, runner beans tend to be remarkably productive and you may well even find yourself with a glut on your hands – never mind – there are a huge number of different ways to prepare and enjoy these delicious beans. The plants also look great, with bright flowers and hugely abundant foliage. When you see how fast these plants grow you will see that the name 'runner' is rather apt. May is the time to sow runner beans in most of the UK, as it should be warm enough towards the end of the month for this plant to survive and thrive. But how will you support the twining tendrils? Here are some ideas for runner bean supports that you might like to use in your garden or growing space:


Bamboo Ridge Support:


The traditional way to grow runner beans is to create a framework using bamboo canes forming an A-frame along a narrow bed with a ridge support. This is a great method for longer, thinner spaces and places where there are annual vegetables grown in rows. A variation on this is to splay the frame so that the bamboo canes lean away from one another rather than joining at a ridge. These wide-ridge frames are wider at the top than the bottom, which is said to increase yield due to increased light levels.


Wigwam:


A great frame for smaller spaces and for spaces where kids will play is to make one or more wigwams using long branches or canes. These wigwams will make a lovely shady place for kids to sit and play and look attractive in your garden. Wigwams like this could also be used to create shading for a delicate plant or plants from the mid-summer sun.


Munty Frame”:


This shape of frame is named for the gardening forum member who is said to have invented it. This frame-shape is similar to a goal in football, with a higher bar to the south and a lower one to the north. The runner beans are trained up over that frame, creating a south-facing space within it that can be used to grow other crops or to give a lovely arbour or seating area. The runner beans then dangle down into the space below, making it easier to pick them.


A Trellis Structure against a Wall:


Runner beans with their vigorous climbing habit are perfect for small-space gardening. On a balcony, in a small courtyard or on the exterior of a house or block of flats without outside space, runner beans can be grown up a sturdy trellis affixed to a wall. Use canes and vertical uprights rather than netting as runner beans will climb by twining clockwise round something and netting makes their natural growth more difficult.


A New or Existing Pergola:


A pergola brings the outside inside and pleasantly blurs the boundary between your home and your garden. Whether you have one already or are considering getting one, runner beans could be the perfect plant to bring the structure to life in the summer months. Sitting in the dappled shade of a leafy pergola, you will not regret taking the time and effort you have to get your space looking good.

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