Let’s talk beans.
Runner beans and Climbing French Beans.
Runner beans often get a bad press; for being stringy, for being confusing, and not knowing what to do with them. Climbing French Beans, get ignored.
I like both, I think they are both equitable for growing and need not be confusing in the least.
You can sow these now, in yoghurt pots or cut down pop bottles. Make sure the compost is moist not soaking damp; ensure the containers do have some form of drainage. Otherwise your seeds will too cold, damp and simply rot away.
(That last one, is probably a good science lesson to do with kids. They can see the development of the root system amongst other things.)
They do and will grow quickly, and will need to be hardened off before you plant them outside. This means to acclimatize the plants to the cooler conditions outside. Ideally, they should be planted outside once the frost window has closed. Here in England, that doesn’t happen til the end of May-the late May Bank Holiday, to be precise.
I’ve grown runner beans in pots, so this is possible. As well as planting in open ground. This will involve making tripods or Rugby-post structures to support the plants as they grow. More often than not, the variety sown tends to be Scarlet Emperor. Think the Climbing French Beans were called Cobra…well, they do snake….
Runner beans and climbing beans are rapid growers. Once settled in position, they will keep going to the early autumn if conditions allow. They will need to be watered well when the temperature rises and the summer is full flow.
(That, could actually happen.)
The more you pick the ready beans, the more you will get. Start from the bottom and work upwards to get a steady crop that isn’t over ripe.
And what exactly do you do with them?
Runners, can be chutneyed, or cooked with potatoes, spices and potatoes. That’s how we have them at home. Chop them up, saute with onions, garlic, ginger and some chopped tomatoes. Add the contents of your masala tin to experiment as required.
Climbing Beans can be used in the same way, but are probably best steamed or cooked with butter, and dash of seasoning.