Runner bean - Phaseolus coccineus
A great, easy to grow, vegetable plant, even if growing on the smallest plot, they climb upwards using up very little space. Sow directly outside, in mid-May, by pushing seeds an inch deep into well prepared soil, or start off in pots, in early May, and plant outside once the first leaves have unfurlled. If growing up poles arranged as a wigwam or teepee, they can be underplanted with a marrow, courgette or pumpkin.
Suggested sowing time:
(Key: sow indoors, sow outside, sow outside under cover.)
Pick the beans when they are small, left on the plant they will get tough and stringy. Leaving beans on the plant will also reduce the number of future flowers the plant produces.
Varieties:Phaseolus coccineus 'Celebration' - pink flowers
Phaseolus coccineus 'Firestorm' - A stringless, easy to grow bean. Similar to a french bean if picked when young.
Phaseolus coccineus 'Moonlight'
Phaseolus coccineus 'Red Rum' - bright, scarlet flowers with tender, long beans.
Phaseolus coccineus 'Scarlet Emperor'
Phaseolus coccineus 'St George' - red and white flowers.
Phaseolus coccineus 'Stardust' - White flowers with tender, stringless beans
Seeds to plant now:
Indoor or in a heated greenhouse
Aubretia, Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia