The Secret to Growing the Best Runner Beans
Canny old gardeners already know the secret to growing the very best French and Runner Beans, but as with a lot of old fashioned tried and tested methods in this high-speed modern world these tips aren’t always passed on to the new generation of gardeners.
What I’m talking about of course is a ‘bean trench’, it is such a simple way to get the best from your crop it retains moisture and adds nutrients to the soil right at the roots of the plant where it is most needed.
Decide where you are going to grow your beans this year and dig a good deep trench at least a spade's depth, loosen the soil at the bottom and put in a generous layer of compost, kitchen vegetable peelings, wet shredded newspaper, used pet bedding from your rabbit or guinea pig can also go in.
Make the trench well in advance of your planting time and you can add to it over a week or two if you don’t have lots of material initially and add some soil after each layer. Once there is a generous layer of material in the trench make sure it is moist then replace the soil to cover the organic matter. Allow the trench enough time once covered to start the composting process before you plant.
You will have a bit of a mound of earth to start with but as the material starts to break down it will soon settle. As the organic matter starts to decompose in the trench it will generate warmth below the soil surface and this warmth combined with the extra moisture it retains and nutrients it releases as it composts will give your Beans a really good start when you plant them in May.
Most importantly there is nothing added to your crop that isn’t natural! You will definitely have a bumper harvest and it works equally well for many other hungry feeders such Courgettes, Squash and Pumpkins.