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Are you looking for the ideal conditions to grow runner beans? Then, you’ll need to consider the amount of acidity contained within the soil. So, will ericaceous compost be a good choice?
Yes. Runner beans prefer mildly acidic soil, thriving in a pH range of 6 to 6.8. Ericaceous compost is a common way of reducing the pH level in the soil. A pH test can determine if this is necessary. Ericaceous compost can also be used to lower evaporation, helping store moisture within the soil.
The good news is that runner beans aren’t too fussy about the soil they are grown in. As long as you give them plenty of nutrients, you shouldn’t have any problems. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about growing runner beans.
Will Ericaceous Compost Suit Runner Beans?
It’s important to make sure that you are creating conditions that will be conducive to the growth of your runner beans. This means considering the level of acidity within the soil. This will determine how well they will be able to absorb nutrients.
Usually, runner beans will grow best when the soil pH is between 6.8 to 6. This is slightly acidic. This isn’t quite as strong as the usual variety of ericaceous compost, which falls in the range of 4 to 5.
However, this type of compost can still be used to lower the soil pH level and make the conditions more conducive for runner beans. You just need to make sure that you aren’t lowering it too far, as too much acidity can harm bean growth.
Before deciding whether ericaceous compost is the right choice, it’s best to test the current pH of the soil. Many hardware stores will sell tests that allow you to do this. If it’s neutral (7) or above, it’s best to use ericaceous compost to lower the pH.
Furthermore, ericaceous compost will give the plants the nutrients they need to thrive. Even better, covering with a layer of compost will help maintain water within the soil. This is especially important for bean plants, which will be quite thirsty crops.
What Type Of Soil Conditions Do Runner Beans Need To Thrive?
Runner beans will thrive in soil that has plenty of nutrients, so it’s common to mix manure into the soil before planting. They will also require partial shade and will need to be watered at least once a week. It might necessary to increase sand in a soil mix to ensure adequate drainage.
Choosing the right type of compost is key. Since runner beans prefer acidic conditions, ericaceous compost is the ideal choice. Though there are a few other factors to consider when choosing the soil you want to use for these vegetables. Some of these elements include:
- Give them plenty of nutrients. Runner beans tend to be fairly adaptable and will be able to grow in a range of soil conditions. But they will need some food to thrive. Because of this, it’s best to prepare the soil by mixing in some manure. Ideally, this should be done in the Autumn before you intend to plant.
- Deep soil. If you are planning on growing the runner beans indoors, you’ll need to account for their deep root structure. It’s best to have a pot that is around 18 inches (45 centimeters) deep.
- Partial shade. It’s important to give the runner beans some time out of the heat of the sun.
- Plenty of water. Runner beans will require a lot of water for them to thrive. Usually, you’ll need to water them once a week. Though during the development period, you might need to water them daily.
- They prefer sandy soil. It’s common for bean plants to require a sandy soil mixture. This allows the excess water to drain through the soil. Because of this, you might need to mix some sand into the soil or potting mix.
How To Plant Runner Beans
There are a few steps that you will need to follow to plant runner beans successfully; these are:
- Sow during early spring. Before you sow, you’ll need to make sure that there is no chance of any more frost. These cold temperatures can kill off the runner beans before they have an opportunity to grow.
- Planting in a container. If you want to grow runner beans in a container, you’ll need to make sure that you choose a pot that is two inches (five centimeters) deep. Aim to have one bean per pot. Once it reaches three inches (eight centimeters) tall, it can be transplanted into your garden.
- Prepare the site. When you are ready to put the beans into the ground, you’ll need to prepare the area. First, mixing some manure into the soil is a good idea, so they have plenty of nutrients. You should also put some canes into the ground, which the beans can climb as they grow. We’ll discuss how to arrange the stakes a little later.
- Dig a trench. Before you plant out the seedlings, you should leave them in their pots for a few weeks. This allows them to harden and get accustomed to the outdoors. Next, you’ll need to dig a trench that is 60 centimeters (two feet) deep and 90 centimeters (three feet deep). Then, you can add the seedlings.
There are a few other ways of growing runner beans. For example, you might want to sow the seeds directly into the soil. In this case, you will need to sow them five centimeters (two inches) deep. If you want to start growing your runner beans earlier, you can use a greenhouse to keep them warm.
Tips To Care For Runner Beans
It’s essential to provide a cane stake for the runner beans. This will support their growth. It’s best to wait until the pods are at least 15 centimeters long before you start to remove them. Pick them across multiple days to increase the harvest yield.
Once you have established runner beans, you’ll need to learn how to take care of them properly. First, you will need to use a cane within the garden. As the beans grow, they will attach themselves to the cane, supporting their further growth.
There are a few ways you can do this. You can either make an A-frame. You might also want to make a wigwam-type shape. When the beans reach the top of the stake, you can prune them off.
For the beans to start producing pods, you’ll need to give them plenty of water. You will need to make sure that the soil is moist. If you are having problems, you might want to check the pH level.
Generally, runner beans will be fairly versatile and easy to grow. As long as you follow these tips, you should have a fairly strong crop. Once the bean pods are 15 to 20 centimeters (six to eight inches) long, they will be ready to be harvested.
All you need to do is pick them from the vine. It’s a good idea to wait a few days between pickings for a longer harvest season.
Runner beans are a delicious source of food. As long as you plant and care for them correctly, they will be able to continue producing harvests for many years to come.
Because of this, it’s often a good idea to use ericaceous compost. This is tailor-made to support the nutritional needs of acid-loving plants, like running beans. Plus, adding compost will help you lock moisture into the soil.