Site, Soil and Preparation
Runner beans prefer a warm, sheltered, rich, well drained soil that has been prepared in advance in autumn with generous amounts of garden compost or manure. They also need a neutral pH soil and will require the addition of lime if the soil is acidic.
Runner beans can be sown direct outside in warm weather, but are usually started indoors in root trainers or 75mm (3in) pots at a depth of 50mm (2in).
In warm weather beans can be sown outdoors, usually from mid-May, with 2 beans together at a depth of 50mm (2in), 200mm (8in) apart with rows 450mm (1 1/2ft) apart.
Transplant indoor sown runner beans to their outdoor positions, after hardening off, in late May or early June and plant at the same spacings as given for outdoor sowing.
Wigwams or rows of 2400mm (8ft) canes will be needed to support runner beans. Pinch out the tops of the plants when they reach the top of the canes. Water plants frequently, especially during hot spells, and more generously when pods start to form.
Harvest the pods whilst still young as soon as they reach 150mm - 200mm (6in - 8in). Pick the beans regularly before they have a chance to become stringy and tough.