runner bean 'Scarlet Emperor'
- Position: full sun
- Soil: deep and fertile with reliable moisture
Introduced in 1633, sometimes the old ones are the best – and that's certainly true with this heritage variety, grown for generations and still one of the most popular runners around. The big, beefy plants scramble enthusiastically up beanpoles to produce a very heavy crop of classic long, straight beans with a flavour that's just the way beans ought to taste. The flowers are edible too and make a colourful garnish.
- Growing Instructions:Choose a spot in full sun with the richest soil you can provide: dig in plenty of well-rotted organic matter before planting. From late spring sow seeds direct 5cm deep and about 20cm apart and support with sturdy hazel bean poles. Protect seedlings from slugs and squash blackfly as soon as they appear on shoot tips. When sowing, pop one or two extra seeds in at the end of the row to act as insurance: then if you lose any of your seedlings you'll have replacements waiting in the wings.
- Sow: April-June
- Harvest: July-October
- Approximate quantity: 45 seeds.
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Q:What veg can I grow with my runner beans?
Dad has grown runner beans on the same patch for years. Is it ok to grow leeks, kohlrabi, carrots and sprouts on this patch or even courgettes? I am trying to get a crop rotation underway but there is limited space.Asked on 22/3/2005 by Jan Hamilton-Taylor
A:The purpose of crop rotation is to reduce build-up of soil borne pests and diseases, and continuous cropping of the same vegetable can lead to an inbalance of soil nutrients. The plants you mention should be fine to grow in the same spot as the beans this year, but you will need to add plenty of organic matter to the area before planting and I wouldn't recommend growing the carrots or sprouts in the same spot next year. Even if the area is small, it really will help if you can try and work out a crop rotation to avoid problems in the future.Answered on 23/3/2005 by Crocus
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