I thought it was time I posted an update on the runner beans for the balcony project.

They were sown on Apil 3rd and I described that here.

After a week or ten days, they start to develop shoots

balcony beans

runner beans

As the shoots begin to grow, they start to demonstrate the biggest drawback to growing on a windowsill. Those on the inside (and also, on our windowsill, nearest the radiator) begin to grow faster and lean towards the light. You can see here that one bean in particular has raced away from the others. The first thing to do with this, is to turn them around regularly, placing the inside ones to the outside and the outside ones in. Incidentally, if you leave them until they have a pronounced lean before turning them, this is a great demonstration for children to show how plants look for the light. Wait until they are leaning, move them around, and before long they will straighten up and then lean in the new direction 🙂


Anyway – I digress – so keep moving them around to try to keep the growth as even as possible. Once the majority of the beans have come up and are showing leaves, you can “stop” them. Start to place them outside during the day. To begin with you need to wait until the day has warmed up, and bring them in again before the evening gets chilly. Make the days longer and once they are used to the chilly evening air, you can leave them out overnight. This has two effects. Firstly, it stops the mad race that growing inside in the warm will produce. Secondly, they have all the light they need so no longer have to grow leggy and lean for the light.

As you can see from this picture, the beans have more or less evened up and are now ready to plant on, along with the beans from the cotton wool experiment, into my big pot this weekend.

beans ready to plant on

Getting the beans planted in their pots