Runner Beans 2019 Growth Chart Experiment


August 11th 20192,130mmn/a
August 3rd 20191,890mmn/a
July 13th 20191,150mmn/a
June 16th 2019460mmn/a
June 15th 2019450mmn/a
June 14th 2019410mmn/a
June 9th 2019370mmn/a
June 7th 2019340mmn/a
June 5th 2019320mmn/a
June 1st 2019270mmn/a
May 31st 2019250mmn/a
May 27th 2019118mmn/a
May 21st 2019110mmn/a
May 20th 2019100mmn/a
May 16th 201979mmn/a
May 15th 201975mmn/a
May 14th 201970mmn/a
May 13th 201960mmn/a


Sunday August 11th 2019
It has been a stormy, very windy weekend. Locally several trees have been blown over, we were therefore very pleased to find that the runner beans had managed to stay in place.

As you can see from the photo, the runners have now reached the top of one pole and followed a line over to another taller pole and now measure 213cms tall. That’s the highest point we have in the garden this year so we’ll have to  stop measuring vertical growth now. However next year we’ll see if we can arrange some better poles to encourage growth. 

The plants themselves are now full of the little red flowers and we should get our first crop this week. 


Saturday July 13th 2019
The runner bean plant we have been measuring for this blog really hasn’t recovered from being eaten by slugs, in fact all the runners in the original bed are badly affected.

I think the bed is a little too exposed in the garden so we won’t use that spot again for runners.

Luckily we had a number of spare plants, we gave most of them away but planned the last one in the centre of another bed surrounded by lettuce, courgette and tomatoes. As can be seen in this picture our last runner bean is doing well and from now on we’ll take measurements from this plant.


Tuesday 25th June 2019
We haven’t taken any measurements for a few days because our runner beans have been attacked by some type of insect and the leaves have been stripped off most of them. The plants are still alive and there are new leaves developing so we’re hoping this is just a set back.

We’ve inspected the leaves and can’t see any insects or caterpillars remaining on the leaves.


Sunday 18th June 2019
It’s Fathers Day and we visited Granddad you lives in North Norfolk. He has quite a sheltered garden and his runners are ahead of ours. One of his neighbour is even further ahead, with beans almost to the top of the poles.

As you might be able to see from the photos below our garden is quite exposed being bordered by a large field which this year is growing wheat.

When we got home we thought we’d try and give our beans a little boost by watering them with our home made Comfrey plant feed.


Friday, 14th June 2019
We haven’t been outside to take measurements this week because it has been so wet, it’s safe to say we’ve had more than a month of rain this week and the garden is waterlogged now. .

Wednesday, June 5th 2019
Today the runner beans are up to 320mm which is exactly the same height that we measured this day in 2017. In 2018, our runners had been affected by some nearby crop spraying so the measurements for 2018 can’t be compared.

Saturday, May 25th 2019 

The runner beans have been outside this week hardening off before being planted out.

We’ve been very pleased with how they have grown in the old toilet rolls.  As can be seen in this picture, the runner beans now have good strong root growth which has started growing through the sides and bottom of the roll.

The long tube seems to make them less root bound  and helps the roots breath better than the plastic pots we’ve used in previous years. So so far we’d say this has been a successful experiment and it looks like the rolls are better than plastic for growth and the environment. 

We planted out the runner beans in the well-prepared ground.

The ground has had lots of horse manure, garden compost and some wood ash from our wood burner dug in.

For the last few weeks, we’ve covered the area with fresh grass clippings. These act as a mulch to retain water in the short term and as the clippings decompose, they release their nutrients back to the soil. They contain nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, as well as lesser amounts of other essential plant nutrients

Last year the beans were affected by slugs when we planted them out. The grass clippings are a bit of an experiment this year as our theory is the slugs won’t want to crawl over the dry grass clippings.



Sunday, May 12th 2019

Today, 20 days after sowing the runner bean seeds they have reached a height of 4cms. The weather last week was awful, not getting over single digits and with a light frost several nights. The weather for the coming week is expected to be much nicer reaching 13c or 14c most days. We, therefore, expect the growth to accelerate this week. It’s worth noting that in 2018 the beans grew 11cms in the first 8 days, so growth is much slower this year.

Wednesday, May 8th 2019 

Today, 16 days after we planted the seeds on Easter Monday the first runner bean has germinated and has started poking through the soil. We’ll continue to watch each day and see how the rest germinate. We’ve had the seeds in an unheated greenhouse. Normally they should take about 10 days to germinate so we think the delay is due to the colder weather we have had since Easter.

Easter Monday, April 22nd 2019

Today we planted our runner bean seeds. This year instead of using plastic pots we thought we would try toilet rolls as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic pots. Many people also report that using toilet rolls for seeds is better for the plants as you can just plant out the whole roll which will eventually rot down without disturbing the roots.


Runner beans should germinate in about a week, so we’ll report back next weekend on the progress.


We used toilet rolls to grow our runner bean seeds this year – here they are before we covered the beans with potting compost.

















Also in this weeks Gardeners’ World Monty Don suggested putting up your bean sticks this weekend. It’s way to early to plant out your runners yet but it’s a good sign of your intent for the rest of the year and certainly it’s a lot easier to get the poles into the ground now while it’s moist rather than in a few weeks time when the ground is a lot harder.

Here you can see the bean poles we’ll use this year for our runner beans. Earlier in the day we had dug a deep hole and filled it with well-rotted compost and horse manure.

Tip: If you can plan ahead through winter, you can dig a pit or trench for your beans and fill it with manure and vegetation to be composted and then backfill with soil a few weeks before planting out your beans.

You may also be interested in my runner bean blogs from previous years: Runner Beans 2017.

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Linda Garrould

High View, Wreningham, Norfolk,
NR16 1BH

Family Friendly, weekends, holidays, gardening and cookery