We recommend climbing beans as the perfect crop for novice gardeners or children. Everyone will have success and will pick baskets full of juicy beans.
They are an inviting crop;
- Large, often colourful, easy-to-handle seeds.
- Like to be sown straight in the ground.
- Grow quickly.
- Give a display of flowers as well
- Can crop for two months – that’s a lot of beans
Build a structure for them to climb up first
This could be a simple bamboo wigwam or a longer A-frame. It could even be a tunnel or arbor. Fairweather’s stock locally grown hazel poles which look fabulous in the garden. Choose a relatively sheltered spot for your beans. Sow two seeds at the base of each cane. School children sow the beans in Patrick’s Patch around the second week of May. The seedlings emerge about a fortnight later and this is the trickiest time for your beans. They are vulnerable to slugs and snails so do keep an eye on them. You could use bio-friendly slug pellets such as Neudorf ‘Sluggo’ (ferric phosphate).
Tip – Beans like lots of available water. Dig a trench a foot below where you are sowing and fill it with well-rotted, juicy organic matter such as Grosure Farmyard Manure. The beans will love getting their roots into this. You can do this in the Autumn or /winter if you know where you plant to sow your beans.
Tip – Get the water straight to beans roots by placing plastic water bottles with their ends cut off in the ground next to the beans. The top (lid removed) should be down near the root zone (approx 20cm deep). Fill the bottle with water and it will be slowly delivered directly to the roots.
Runner beans; ‘Painted Lady’ has attractive red and white flowers and crops well.
Climbing French beans; ‘Violet Podded’ has decorative purple pods.
‘Hunter’ and Pantheon’ are a flat-podded, stringless varieties which we found particularly tasty.
Borlotto beans have red pods and can be picked fresh or left to mature and dry. The dried beans can be stored for using in winter stews and soups.
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