Unlike Broad beans, Runner Beans will climb and climb high. They naturally twine and climb and the traditional way of growing Runner Beans is up a teepee made out of canes or twigs as shown in the image left. However you can also plant in double rows 60 cms apart, 5cms deep and place a plant or seed every 15cms. Because Runner Beans grow so tall, when growing Runner Beans it is essential to provide Runner Beans with tall stakes to grow up, see illustration left. You can use bamboo canes, which sink firmly into the ground and angle inwards together, and tie securely at the top. Place another cane horizontally along the top and tie this cane in as well which will give strength to the structure to prevent the Runner Beans from being blown over.
You can also use small sapling, branches and twigs in the place of bamboo canes which is purely aesthetic in that they look more attractive in the veg plot. As illustrated top center eas, Runner and Broad Beans look good with companion planting and benefit in terms of pollinators from the Calendula planted alongside. A bright zingy orange, and flowering for a long time, Calendula, the English Pot Marigold, will bring in some extra pollinators. An added benefit is that the slugs do not seem very interested in Calendula, as compared with French Marigolds which are often reduced to slimy sticks in my garden so Calendula are an easier alternative if you battle with slugs.
Runner beans grow much taller than Broad beans and will need to be pinched out when they reach the top of the poles otherwise they just keep on growing. By pinching out the runner beans you are diverting the plant's energies into making flowers, which become the beans, rather than miles of growth.
Growing Runner Beans really is as easy as that. Usually they crop prolifically although Runner Beans can be affected by a poor summer. If it is cool and wet there will be a lack of pollinators which can reduce yields but generally speaking they are very easy. Do not plant too many plants unless you want to eat a lot of beans, as each plant will yield many beans. To try and avoid gluts, sow or plant out successively, every fortnight, plant out a few more plants/seeds so that they plants fruit at different times.
Runner beans will fruit for a long period of time right up to the first frosts. In a good summer with a mild autumn, such as 2014, beans were picked up to November.