Dwarf French bean 'Stanley'
Dwarf French Bean ‘Stanley’ AGM
For vegetable growers, who find themselves with gaps after harvesting potatoes etc, this is the fastest maturing dwarf bean to plant. It’s disease resistant, can be planted between May and July inclusive, and will produce slender green beans within ten weeks. This variety crops more abundantly than any other I’ve ever grown, producing lots of white-seeded green beans all at once. A dozen or so seeds planted every few days is the best method for creating a succession. Sow directly into well-watered soil creating rows 30cm (12") apart with three to four inches between seeds.
Growing runner beans and climbing French beans
- Always put the structure up before sowing any climbing varieties.
- A tripod of eight tall canes (securely tied at the top) withstands strong winds much better than a long row and one tropod could be accommodated in the flower bed as well as the vegetable patch.
- Beans have soft leaves and they suffer in strong winds so try to find them a sheltered position.
- Sow the seeds straight into the ground because the soil is warm enough to ensure rapid germination.
- Place three bean seeds round each cane and thin if needed once they come up. Also sow a handful in the middle of the tripod (or at the end of the row) for gapping up.
- Keep slugs at bay by planting some lettuces nearby. These should lure any slugs away, for if they nip out the growing points of the young beans they never recover.
- Try to sow at least two varieties of runner bean because varieties are influenced by the weather.
- White-flowered runner beans have paler seeds and red-flowered forms have darker seeds. As a general rule the paler the seed the more heat tolerant the variety is.
- Red-flowered beans often drop their flowers in hot weather once the night-time temperature reaches 16 C (62 C). White-flowered varieties thrive in warmer summers.
- Climbing French beans also prefer hot summers and the dark-podded ‘Blauhilde’ and the green ‘Cobra’ are star performers.
- Flat-podded varieties of bean (like ‘Pantheon’ and ‘Hunter’) crop very heavily whatever the weather too.
- Growing a selection of varieties will ensure a crop - whatever summer brings.
- Once they begin to flower water them if the weather is dry.
- Once they reach the top of the pole pinch out the shoots so that they bush out lower down.
- Pick your crop regularly. Often August is a peak month so, if you plan to go on holiday then recruit a neighbour to pick them and eat them for you.
Varieties of climbing bean
Probably the finest red-flowered stringless variety, producing a long succession of thick fleshy pods until late.
‘Red Rum’ AGM
The first red-flowered runner bean to crop, producing medium-length pods. Often over by August, so do grow a late variety too.
White-flowered bean producing very smooth light-green pods.
The first runner x French hybrid. Vigorous and long-cropping, producing pods that resemble the runner bean in shape, but when snapped the pods have the plumper profile of a French bean.
Varieties of dwarf bean (18 inches/ 45 cm)
Six-inch long stringless, slender pods with extra flavour due to being purple podded. Holds its pods well above the main foliage for easier picking and less damage from soil splash. Fast-maturing variety that I always grow.
A strong-growing bean with long, dark green pods and black seeds.
Bright-yellow, waxy-podded bean with slightly flattened pods, grows best in sunny summers.
‘The Prince’ AGM
A Sutton’s speciality, with continuously heavy crops of long, slender, flat pale-green pods. Best eaten young.
Good resistance to Bean Mosaic Virus and Anthracnose. Dwarf Bean ‘Nomad’ produces bumper crops of straight, stringless, dark-green pods. Flavour is outstanding.
'Cantare' AGM (Duchy Originals Organic Seeds via T & M)
Heavy yields of dark green pods of about 10cm (4") in length that can be picked over a long period.
Available from Marshalls Seeds and Unwins.