Give Your Beans A Boost By Digging A Trench
Runner beans are a popular crop in many parts of the world, and for good reason. They are relatively easy to grow, produce a good crop, and are delicious to eat. One way to improve your chances of success with runner beans is to dig a trench for them in the autumn.
There are several benefits to digging a trench for runner beans in the autumn:
- Improved drainage: Runner beans need well-drained soil in order to thrive. If your soil is heavy clay, digging a trench will help to improve drainage. The trench will also help to prevent the roots from sitting in waterlogged soil.
- Warmer soil temperature: Runner beans are a warm-season crop, so they prefer to grow in warm soil. Digging a trench in the autumn will help to warm up the soil earlier in the spring, which will give your runner beans a head start.
- Added nutrients: The organic matter that you add to the trench will decompose over the winter, releasing nutrients into the soil. This will provide your runner beans with a nutrient-rich environment in which to grow.
- Weed suppression: The organic matter that you add to the trench will also help to suppress weeds. This is especially important in the early stages of growth, when the runner bean plants are still small and vulnerable to weeds.
How to dig a trench for runner beans
To dig a trench for runner beans, simply follow these steps:
- Choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil.
- Mark out a trench that is 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide.
- Dig the trench and remove the soil.
- Add a layer of organic matter to the bottom of the trench over the winter months. This could include compost, manure, or shredded leaves.
- Replace the soil on top of the organic matter shortly before sowing the beans.
When to plant runner beans in a trench
You can plant runner beans in a trench as soon as the soil has warmed up in the spring and the frosts have ended. This is usually in May or early June in the UK.
How to plant runner beans in a trench
To plant runner beans in a trench, simply follow these steps:
- Sow the runner bean seeds directly into the trench, about 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart.
- Water the seeds well.
- Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate.
- Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them out so that they are spaced about 12 inches apart.
Caring for runner beans in a trench
Caring for runner beans in a trench is similar to caring for runner beans planted in the ground. You will need to water them regularly, especially during hot weather. You may also need to fertilise them occasionally.
A frame of bamboo canes or wooden batons is essential to give support to the fast growing tendrils.
Harvesting runner beans from a trench
You can start harvesting runner beans from a trench around 8-10 weeks after planting. To harvest them, simply pick the beans when they are young and tender.
Tips for digging trenches for runner beans
- If you have heavy clay soil, you may want to add sand or grit to the trench to improve drainage.
- If you are adding manure to the trench, make sure that it is well-rotted. Fresh manure can burn the roots of the runner bean plants.
- Be careful not to overwater the runner beans. Too much water can lead to root rot.
- Mulch around the runner bean plants to help suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Digging a trench for runner beans in the autumn is a great way to improve your chances of success with this popular crop. The trench will help to improve drainage, warm up the soil, add nutrients, and suppress weeds.