Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beanie Babies

Generally speaking, beans have not featured large in the suburban veg plot. I grow broad beans each year and I once grew runner beans (before deciding I didn't actually like them) but aside from those, my kitchen garden is a veritable dearth of beans. Until this year that is.

Through purchases and acquisitions, I found myself in possession of purple dwarf French beans, Cherokee Trail of tears climbing beans and even an ornamental purple hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab).
Germination of them all was pretty successful in mid April – 100% in the case of the French beans – and I spent ages hardening them all off before anything left the safe confines of the greenhouse.

The gardening nerd in me loved to watch the new plant appear from between the cotyledons

The dwarf french beans were grown in toilet roll inners in a plastic fruit container. Here they are having a day out on the patio table back in May.

And once their roots started to explore beyond the cardboard tube, I temporarily potted them into a flower bucket to provide them with a bit more depth and moisture.

The french beans have been in their final positions for about 6 weeks now and have been madly producing delightfully tender beans. Their leaves are under permanent attack from our somewhat unwelcome mollusc friends but they don't touch the beans themselves, so I'm happy to maintain the standoff while that remains the case.

The Cherokee Trail of Tears beans are grown for podding beans which can then be dried and stored. They germinated quickly, grew well but then came under severe attack when I planted them out (those pesky gastropods again!). Thankfully, the brans grew slightly faster than the slugs nibbled them and they are just about hanging on. Photos to follow once I'm sure they're past the worst.

And the ornamental beans? Well, they might be a bit superfluous and don't actually contribute to the harvest, but they'll look attractive and will provide late pollen for all those lovely bees and butterflies – and I think that's reason enough. Here they are just getting to grips in their new home.


  1. THose nasty slugs will have a go at the beans if they get the chance. We haven't any nbeans developed yet to tempt them although we do have bean flowers.

    1. I am having to pick my way around slime covered french bean leaves to harvest the beans - uurgh! They've even started on the strawberry leaves now...

  2. Urrrgh slugs and snails - a constant battle. Beans are one of the first things I plant each summer - I love fresh beans and the plants are usually nice and pretty.

  3. I'm totally blown away by the taste of fresh french beans. Why have I waited until now to grow them???