Saturday night and Sunday morning I sowed the runner beans for the balcony project

Keeping to my theme of spending as little as possible, and recycling materials as much as possible, I made newspaper pots to start the runner beans in.

To start off, take a sheet of newspaper. Exactly how you fold it will depend on the original newspaper and the dimensions of the pot you want to end up with. Beans put down a nice deep root, so the deeper the pot you can start them in the better. So, for this, I wanted pots about 6 inches deep. Lay the newspaper with the centre fold away from you, and turn the edge nearest to you up until the newspaper strip is the desired depth for the pot.

newspaper pot 1

Lay your hand across the strip as shown, and then wrap the paper around your hand making a cylinder. Turn in the edges at the base, and stand the pot in a tray. Fill with compost.

runner beans 2

You can use tape to help hold the pot together, but once the pots are filled and standing in the tray they will support each other.

I believe it is possible to buy a wooden form to help make the pots a uniform size and shape. Personally I feel that my beans won’t really care if the pot is perfectly circular or if it is more “dented egg” shaped. What will matter to them is the depth of the soil, the moisture and the temperature – so I am quite happy hand shaping my pots. ๐Ÿ™‚

Plant the bean seeds one to a pot, and keep warm and watered until the beans come through. When you are ready to move them to their permanent location, just water well, and place the whole pot in the soil – the roots will grow through the newspaper and you won’t have had to disturb the roots in the replanting.

If you have children, this makes a great project to keep them happy. Give them a couple of bean seeds each and have a bean race. Give them a set period of time and the one with the tallest bean at the end wins.

Another great bean trick with kids is to grow beans in cotton wool. Poke two or three beans down between the cotton wool and the glass. Water well, and the kids can watch as the bean first puts down it’s roots in search of water, and then grows the shoot upwards. My DD has been doing this every year since she was 18 months old and is STILL fascinated watching the bean develop ๐Ÿ™‚

Runner beans at 19 days update

The runner beans finally planted out in their pots

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