Growing: French Beans, Peppers, Runner Beans, Sweetcorn, Spring Onions – Completed

I’ve done the rest of the “growing” posts separately, but this post is very very late. All of these finished ages ago, with varying success. So I thought I’d do one post about all of them.

French Beans

These are an interesting one. I planted some seeds, which seemed to do absolutely nothing, so I went to a garden centre and bought some french bean plants. I planted those at the allotment, and left the seeds maybe growing at home.

No sooner had I bought the plants, the pot-with-seeds-in at home produced visible plants of their own.

End result: The purchased-plants at the allotment all died and produced nothing. The seeds I thought were useless in pots at home, grew into plants which produced beans. You never can tell.

(Seeds) planted at home: 3rd June.
These picked: 24th August.

However, there were two issues.

Firstly, there wasn’t very many. This picture was probably 50% of the entire haul from the 3-4 plants that didn’t die.

Second, they just didn’t taste very nice. I don’t know if they were left too long, or picked too early, but they were pretty horrible. So it’s a big FAIL for the French Beans.


These were peppers of the sweet variety (so not chili peppers, is what I’m saying) in a pot by the back door. I planted a pre-bought plant from a local garden centre.

Bought: 24th May.

And if I’m honest, I’ve picked nothing from it. It grew a nice-looking pepper, which was then eaten by insects. Then it grew another, which was eaten by insects.

Then, it grew another, which has not been eaten by insects and is still on the plant. I took this picture on the 17th November.

The pepper grew green, and has been green for ages. In the last few weeks, it seems to have turned orange when my back was turned (some parts still green).

According to Wikipedia:

“The color can be green, red, yellow, orange and more rarely, white, rainbow (between stages of ripening) and purple, depending on when they are harvested and the specific cultivar. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly more bitter than yellow or orange peppers, with red bell peppers being the sweetest. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest are fruit allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage are less sweet.”

I’ve allowed it to partially ripen from green to orange in the sort of full sunshine you get in Britain. As I’ve not eaten it yet, I can’t tell you what it tastes like, but I’m ruling this one as a not-complete-failure. Maybe better compost, or a more sunny position would have helped it to ripen more and/or faster.

Runner Beans

Bit of a mixed bag again.

I think I had about 10 plants at home, between 2 pots. I bought canes about 5ft, for them to grow up, and they quickly grew above the top of them. They had some flowers, but did not produce many beans.

Planted at home in pots: 29th April.

Here’s some picked at home, on the 24th August.

Grown, in a variety of different peat-free composts. There was probably 3-4 times that much in total. They weren’t that nice to eat.

However, when I started growing plants at home, I ran out of pots, so kept them growing in tiny seed trays. By the 3rd July, these plants looked half dead, and as I’d just acquired a part of an allotment, I took 4-5 of them to live out their final days there.

A bit of comparison might be handy here. So, by the 13th July, here’s some of the plants at home in a large pot. They grew to about this size, flowered a bit more, produced some beans, then died off.

Runner bean plants at home, 13th July.

BUT surprisingly, the half-dead ones I took to the allotment, and planted in actual soil, were just a bit slow. I don’t know if it was the weather or soil type, or what, but by the 3rd September, they looked like this:

Runner bean plants, allotment, 3rd September

They flowered repeatedly, and produced loads and loads of beans. They were larger, and also tasted a lot nicer than the ones grown at home (all from the same seeds).


Ah sweetcorn. This didn’t go very well.

Seeds planted in modules: 17th April.
Most of resulting plants put into a large trough: 23rd May.

This trough I speak of is a large wooden box (without the lid, obviously) made from a couple of old pallets, and sealed with polythene stapled to the wood. It’s not pretty, but it’s essentially free (a nice-looking version of the same thing would be £50-£75 at least). I grew sweetcorn quite successfully in it last year, so this year, after adding a load of compost to the top and giving it a stir, thought it’d be the ideal place to put more sweetcorn.

So here’s some of the plants on the 16th May.

Then I transferred them outside, where about 30% of them died within weeks. I removed the dead ones and replaced with more from the modules/small-pots.

I’m an impatient person sometimes, and they seemed to remain that same height for ages. However, by the 13th July, they looked like this:

Pictured here, to the left of some peas, 13th July, at home.

As with some plants above, I had some left over which would not fit into my garden at home, and so were taken to the allotment when they were sufficiently half-dead, on the 3rd July. They didn’t die, but didn’t grow very tall either. It’s difficult to tell from this picture, but they were still very small by the 7th August:

Sweetcorn, allotment, 7th August.

And that’s when I stopped taking pictures. The ones at the allotment grew no higher, and were then eaten away by insects and other pests.

The ones at home grew a bit taller, produced the sort of leaves that should hide sweetcorn, but the sweetcorn underneath never produced the full amount of kernels, nor did those it did, ripen properly. I attempted to eat some (after cooking, obviously), but it didn’t taste very nice. So the sweetcorn was a big failure.

Spring Onions

I add these on at the end, as I forgot to document them altogether, as the app that I was using to help me – the RHS Growyourown iPhone app – doesn’t list spring onions. In fact, spring onions are quite hard to find. They’re sometimes referred to as “Scallions”, if that helps you.

Also, while I grew lots, I forgot to make notes of when I planted them. And I grew them from plants I got from the garden centre, so how long they had been growing in my garden isn’t so important.

AND they look like spring onions when you buy them anyway – they just get longer/fatter. Which they did. They grew to more than 30cm tall, and the bulb bits on some of them were probably bigger than golf balls. I didn’t get around to eating any of them, so can’t tell you what they tasted like.

Here’s a picture I took of one on the 12th August, to verify my claims on their size (well, height, anyway):

12th August, at home.

Incredibly easy to grow though. Water them, don’t water them. Plant them in pots, or your garden, or pretty much anywhere else. They’re indestructible and very low maintenance.

And that’s the end of the growing season. I shall now cease with the gardening updates. If anyone has been reading these, thanks for your time. They might come in handy if someone googles “how long does it take to grow parsnips?”  maybe.

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