Runner Bean
Runner Bean

English Name - Runner bean

Japanese Name -

Picture - Runner bean seeds
Picture - Runner beans ready for harvest
Picture - Harvested runner beans

My runner bean vines produced hundreds of good quality pods. The smaller pods were very tender many of which could be eaten with those stringy things on the side still attached. The more mature pods required the stringy things be removed before eating.

Use Trellises

I grew my runner beans on trellises made out of bamboo poles which were growing around the perimeter of the farm. The bamboo was used for both horizontal and vertical support. I then used jute to connect the horizontal bamboo poles. The vertical lines of jute were spaced at about 25 cm apart. The runner bean vines were easily able to climb up the jute and the bamboo poles provided support when the vines became heavy with leaves and pod.

The nice thing about using jute is the strings are biodegradable. Especially in this humid climate, the jute lasts for about 6 months and then is barely strong enough to hold together. At the end of the Summer season the jute strings simply pull away with the runner bean vines when they are removed. The entire load can then be tossed into the compost pile.

Picture - My runner beans growing on the bamboo and jute trellis.
This works out great when the cool season veggies are planted since, with the exception of peas, they do not require support. Then when Summer comes simply put up some new jute for the new runner bean vines.

Be aware that runner bean vines are determined to grow in an upwards direction and then towards the south if a support is available. If you want to make a "green wall", be sure to sow the vines at the north side of your trellis or other support to allow them to naturally grow along the supports towards the south. Otherwise you will spend a lot of time tying and redirecting the vines to go in the opposite direction.
Perfect Beans

The runner bean vines produced a ton of good quality bean pods. I picked many of the pods when they were small to medium size, as these proved to be more tender. The leaves grew very thick on the vines and at the end of the season the pods became a bit more difficult to find. This meant often picking pods that were pretty large and not nearly as soft. These more mature pods needed to be cooked a bit longer but were delicious nonetheless.

Mistake: Be sure not to mix runner bean vines with anything else in your farm or garden. I made the mistake of putting in bitter melon and a couple of kinds of gourds with the runner beans on the same trellis. Although the total area of the trellis measured about 12 meters long and 2 meters high, the three kinds of veggies soon mixed together and became a total mess.

Picture - A tasty bunch of runner beans.

As an amateur farmer, I am constantly looking for information to make things easier, and to be more productive in my farms.

My best resource though is all of you REAL FARMERS out there. If you are growing runner beans, please take some time and post a comment with your thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism, and links to useful sites.

Your input will be greatly appreciated not only by me, but anyone else visiting this page. Thanking you ahead of time for posting.

For now check out the following links, which I found to be very useful.

Picture - Runner bean seeds.
Eat The Seasons - a bit of information and preparation tips.
Royal Horticultural Society - good information particularly about common pests.
Wikipedia - general information about runner beans.
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