How to grow runner beans from seed
Sow your runner bean seeds in late spring into damp compost, sowing one bean per small pot. Place your runner beans on a warm, sunny windowsill to germinate. When your bean seedlings have two true leaves, and after the last frost date has passed, place your seedlings outdoors during the day, bringing in at night for two weeks to harden your plants off before planting out in the garden.
Runner beans need support as they grow. Use bamboo poles to make a row or join at the top with string to make a teepee and plant one plant at the base of each pole. When your runner beans reach the top during the summer, pinch out the growing tips to focus the plant's energy of producing beans. Keep picking beans regularly between July and October.
How to grow French beans from seed
Sow your French bean seeds indoors in April. Use small pots and plant one bean per pot for the best results. Plant your seedlings outdoors when the weather warms in May or early June. Dwarf French beans don’t need any support as they grow unlike climbing French beans. Use bamboo poles to make a sturdy teepee to support your climbing beans as they grow.
How to grow broad beans from seed
Start broad beans from seed outdoors or under cover in autumn or spring. Keep your beans away from frost and mice while they germinate. Provide plenty of moisture and weed your broad beans regularly as the seedlings develop. Use a cloche or miniature tunnel to sow your broad beans outdoors in February to get a head start and an earlier crop.
Plant your broad beans roughly 20cm apart in rows in the ground. Keep weeding between rows as your beans develop. Harvest the pods from May onwards waiting until the pods are a good size.