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“Runner beans

              will grow to over 3

            metres tall, plants tie

              themselves around


         If you do not like runner beans, then French string
         beans are an alternative. Sometimes called pencil
         beans they are started in the same way as runner
         beans except you can sow them roughly 6 cms apart in
         trenches 30 cms wide. Mostly self-supporting,
         depending on variety,  they will appreciate stakes down
 Herbs & Vegetables  both sides of the trench with a couple of lines of string
         between at 30 cms spacing. I grow a variety I bought
         years ago, the name long escapes me. I have been
 Preparing Summer Crops  saving seed every year since. Saving string bean seeds
         is easy. Leave the last few pods on the plants until they
         are crispy. Remove the seeds and put them in a jiffy
         bag. Label the bag. I cannot count the number of times
 June is probably the last month before autumn that you   I have saved seed and not labelled them because I
 will want to sow seeds. The ground becomes so warm   would remember what they were. Keep over winter in a
 that seeds cook rather than germinate. Two exceptions,   cool, dry place. The garden shed is fine.
 well worth trying, are string beans and runner beans.  Other sowings that you can risk are beetroot and
 A guide to   Both need well-prepared ground that was ideally   carrots. Make sure you have varieties that can be sown
         in early summer.
 composted for a previous crop. Good drainage is
 essential. Runner beans will grow to over 3 metres tall
         Watering becomes very important, especially if you
 sowing &
 so, the way I plant them is in two rows, 1 metre apart, with
         have an allotment some distance from where you live. I
 about 15 cms between individual seeds. Soak the ground
         use a simple system. A timer on the tap is set for 2
 before pushing the seeds down to about 2cms. Then do
 not water again for one week to ten days. The first
         down the length of each plot on the allotment. The
 shoots should be showing when you start watering to
         solid pipe has ‘T’ pieces arranged so that each one
 keep the ground just damp. Support individual plants
         points down a ridge, each has a plastic tap, and
 with 4 metre long canes, each stuck 1 metre into the   hours every night. A solid 9mm pipe takes the water
         perforated pipe runs down the top of each ridge. Each
 ground; you can cut dead canes yourself down many of   perforated pipe has a bung at the end. That way, I can
 the river courses. Lean the canes inward so that they   turn off or reduce the water from each ridge pipe. I
 meet between the rows and tie them off. The plants will   water on top of the ridges, so that excess water soaks
 twine themselves around the canes as they grow. I sow   down between the ridges and I can interplant with leafy
 Scarlet Emperor, an old variety that has beautiful red   vegetables like lettuce, beetroot, swede and turnips.
 flowers that look attractive. The beans taste good as
         The leaves of these plants help to shade the ground
 Sponsored   If your business would like to sponsor our Gardening Page   and reduce evaporation. A tip here; visit your local
 well. Pick them young to avoid the side strings.
         poligono for your pipe, taps, ‘T’ pieces and bungs, they
         will be far cheaper than in garden centres and DIY
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