If you choose one variety of runner bean, choose Firestorm. Bred to include genes from French beans, this summer staple is stringless, super sweet and self-fertile. It sets pods with more reliability, even in poor weather, and the edible scarlet flowers make a beautiful feature, livening up your plot or border. The French breeding provides these with an incredibly succulent texture. As beautiful as they are tasty, runner beans are an incredibly easy vegetable to grow. Granted an RHS Award of Garden Merit, we highly recommend them.
- Pack size: 15 seeds
- Time to germination: 7 - 9 days
- When to sow inside: March – June
- When to sow outside: April - May
- Spacing: 30 - 40cm
- Soil preference: Well-drained
- Light preference: Full sun, part shade
- When to harvest: July - October
How to grow Firestorm Runner Beans from seed
Runner beans can reach 8-9 feet in ideal conditions, so provide them with support. 8-foot canes, a cage or trellis all work well. Runner beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow; up there with the cucamelon. There is, however, a balance that needs to be struck when deciding when to plant outside.
Runner bean seeds can be planted out directly after the risk of frost. However, as a favourite meal for mice and other garden critters, and a susceptibility to rot in damp weather, runner bean seeds are best started indoors. As they become unmanageable indoors after week two or three, yet the slightest frost will kill them, you must strike a balance when attempting a head start on the season.
Runner Bean Firestorm Seeds germinate at room temperature; anything over 10 degrees is fine. For a headstart, sow two weeks before the last frost, or for the rest of us, around the time of the last frost is fine. Do so in 8cm coco pots and plant out into your prepared bed.
What to feed your Runner Bean Firestorm plants
An old technique that we like involves digging a trench where your beans are to be planted, starting in November. Pile the spoil to the side and gradually fill it with kitchen waste, covering it with spoil as you work down the trench. Aim to finish by Christmas. The mound will slowly subside by springtime, leaving your beans an excellent rich, free-draining bounty, which they will pass onto you in delicious fresh beans.
Alternatively, amend the area with a good mix of rotten farmyard manure and fish, blood and bone meal with some volcanic rock dust and kelp powder to give them a rich, balanced and diverse diet for strong organic growth.
Keeping pests away
Runner beans suffer no issues from soil born pathogens building up in the soil and they don't need to be rotated year on year.
Like many vegetables, runner beans are attractive to aphid infestation. To make matters worse, ants farm them, compounding the problem. The sticky excretions can also develop mould.
When purchasing Runner Bean Firestorm Seeds from Grow Sow Greener, you will receive free marigold seeds. This beautiful plant adds interest and beauty in its own right and makes a great companion for runner beans. Plant marigolds close by to deter nematodes and attract beneficial insects which prey on aphids and other pests.