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Top tips for perfect pods

This month veg expert Rob Smith turns his attention skywards and offers his advice for growing the very best runner beans


Runner bean pods contain phytohaemagglutinin toxins which can cause nausea and vomiting if eaten uncooked, just like French beans can, so it’s always best to cook them before consumption


on our Yo uTube channel https://bit. ly/2IaTQJV

I have fond memories of my grandad always having several rows of runner beans in his garden; in fact it used to be a standing joke that he grew enough for the entire street during the height of the summer!Those memories and the fact that I love the taste mean I grow runner beans every year without fail.

Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are part of the legume family, which also includes broad beans and French beans. Originating in the highlands of Mexico in Central America, they are actually a perennial vining plant which is not frost hardy, hence why we grow them as a half-hardy annual in the UK.That said, the tuberous roots (which are a little like a weird radish) can be potted up and kept frost free during the winter and planted out in the summer, producing beans a little earlier than spring-sown seeds. If you want to try this, it’s a great experiment for kids to take part in, but to be honest the plants grow so well from seed that hardly anyone knows they are perennial!

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

Welcome to Kitchen Garden Magazine! In this issue: HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY TREE ✪ Nurseryman David Patch extols the virtues of this beautiful tree fruit FOR EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON ✪ Biodynamic gardener Julie Moore investigates the true cost of our demand for seasonal food YOMPING YAMS ✪ Yams are a mainstay in hotter climes, but Sally Cunningham reveals one that can thrive in the chilly UK And much more!