We are currently enjoying the results of Jim's labours on the runner bean patch.
Every year he plants the seeds on May 26th, a special birthday, which he always remembers and carefully tends the seedlings until they are able to grow up the poles. It can be like running the gambit because slugs and snails are often abundant in a wet Spring and they will gobble up any fresh shoot that pokes its head above the soil. Jim uses slug pellets. It's the only way, we find. I think the birds have realised the pellets are not for them because they leave well alone.