Runner Bean ‘Little Runners’ is a full size, climbing runner bean cultivar that produces smaller sized runner beans. ‘Little Runners’ beans tend to grow as wide as regular sized runner beans but these beans are quite a bit shorter in length. However, ‘Little Runners’ have the same taste and texture as regular runner beans, and they have a nice flavour, too.
Choose a bright and sunny area to plant runner beans. These vegetables will thrive in moist but well-drained soils – a pH of 6.5 is ideal, but ‘Little Runners’ will grow in gardens or allotments without such a precise reading. However, ‘Little Runners’ will be far more productive when grown in the soil – there are other runner bean cultivars that are much better suited to growing in containers. A sunnier site will produce a far greater harvest than the same plants grown in a partially shaded area. Runner beans will decline when grown in the shade.
This is an easy to grow vegetable. In the UK, ‘Little Runners’ seeds can be sown directly outdoors in the soil from the middle of May until the middle of June. These are tender plants that will be killed by a frost or low temperatures. Keep a close eye on the weather, if a frost or cold weather is forecast, take prompt action the night before and cover your plants with Enviromesh, fleece, or a pair of net curtains! Don’t forget to remove these coverings in the morning when the temperature has warmed up.
If you wanted, you could sow ‘Little Runners’ seeds in a glasshouse or polytunnel to get a head start on the growing season, but to be honest I don’t usually recommend this, as runner beans are fast growing plants that can get themselves in something of a tangle if they are grown in containers for too long a time; as they’re fast growing plants this can be just two or three weeks. It’s far easier to simply sow runner bean seed directly where you want your plants to grow, and sow your runner bean seeds outdoors in May or June and concentrate on growing other plants in such valuable premium glasshouse space.
I like to use tall hazel poles or bamboo canes as a support for my runner beans. You could create a wigwam or an extended row of supports for your plants, but whatever you choose, make sure that you create a strong, robust, and sturdy support, as your plants will grow very tall, and both the plants and their bounty of beans will be very heavy. Ensure that your structure is sound and will be able to withstand high winds when fully laden with runner bean plants.
Runner beans tend to be very productive vegetables. It’s important to harvest the beans regularly when they reach full size, as you’ll enjoy the best flavoured and textured beans this way; however, also by picking the beans regularly, your plants will produce their maximum harvest, as you’ll prevent your plants from going to seed. Regular watering is essential in times of drought.
Runner bean ‘Little Runners’ was bred by Tozer Seeds.
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