~ FRENCH BEAN Seed ~
French beans are one of our favourite vegetables, so this section of the catalogue is one we work hard on, and we have fun trying to find a whole range of different colours.
These are decorative if grown all together, and its a good project for younger members of the family.
As always, here are the most productive & tastiest beans we have been able to find. We hope you will enjoy them too!
When to sow beans?
For the earliest production, sow bush varieties. Climbing beans take a little longer to start producing, but will then carry on over a much longer season, giving a higher yield overall. So we always sow a row of bush beans to start us off, then a big bed of climbers to last us right through the summer.
If you prefer to only grow bush beans, then we would recommend making two or three sowings at three week intervals.
You can sow your beans direct in the ground, but we find that we get a better result if we start them off in trays or pots, which lets us keep them away from mice, and also means that we can give them a bit of heat.
~ CLIMBING or POLE BEANS ~
Trail of Tears' Pole Bean
This bean was originally from the native North American Cherokee people. In 1838 they were driven out of their homelands in the state of Georgia by the US government to make room for more European settlers , a forced march known as the 'Trail of Tears'. This bean is one of their heirlooms they managed to keep with them and has been passed on from generation to generation ever since.
We can see why the Cherokees valued it so much! It is incredibly prolific, cropping over a long season. We plant lots each year for our own use & feedback from all of you is always positive.
Early Pole Snap/Drying bean. Tall, purple flowers, rounded green/ red pods. Black seed.
approx 70 seeds £
"I have just started to harvest these, grown for the
first time this season. I have been allotmenting for twenty-five
years and have never been so delighted with a variety new
to me. They are delicious and tender at any size from 2 inches
Some of them do need stringing, not predictably always the largest, but since you can tell as soon as you top & tail them, where's the problem? I've been handing them out to eat raw like sweets to my neighbours, all of whom have expressed interest in growing them next year.
Thank you for introducing me to them. Please carry on the good work." Morene Griggs
'Lazy Housewife' Pole Bean UNIQUE FAT BUTTERY BEANS
A prolific bean introduced by W. Atlee Burpee and Co in 1885 - from their original description: "the pods are green, entirely stringless, of extra fine flavor, exceedingly rich and buttery when cooked."
This is a late-cropping bean, so you definitely need to grow another type as well for the start of the season. But the beans are incredible; they have these huge fat white seeds that taste fantastic - all soft and buttery - when boiled. The pods stay stringless for a long time and you get a lots of them -it's just great. This was Ben's favourite bean in 2016.
In 1907 this was judged to be almost the very best flavoured bean on the market (sadly the one single variety that beat it is now extinct so we can't offer it.)
approx 70 seeds £
Violette' Purple Pole Bean
A really good vigorous early bean with purple flowers & stems, & nice purple pods for fresh use on quick growing plants. (Note: the purple colour turns to green on cooking. )
The special thing about these is that they stay stringless even to a big size, so it doesn't matter if you miss some or go away for a few weeks in the middle of the season. Lots of people have written in to say how much they like it.
Purple pods. Early Pole Snap. Tall, purple flowers, rounded purple pods that stay stringless even when big.
approx 70 Seeds £
‘Neckargold’ Usually Yellow Pole Bean SEE NOTE
We have been looking for ages for a delicious tender yellow climbing bean and finally we have found one. Neckargold grows really tall and gives large numbers of long beans that start pale green and ripen to glowing yellow.
Even the plants show up the colour, with bright yellow stems. The yield of beans from this variety is excellent, and they stay stringless even up to 8 inches long.
It is later than our other beans, definitely mid season, but this is useful to extend your bean crop after the others start to trail off.
IMPORTANT NOTE - This is a fantastic bean, but for a few people each year the beans stay green, and don't go yellow. We've checked, and there was definitely no mix-up with the seed, and they're not crossed either. We think it is simply a reaction to certain soil or climate conditions.
We thought about dropping it from the catalogue. In the end, so many people raved about it that we have decided to still offer it, as it is such a good bean, so very productive and tasty. But we have reduced the price to reflect the (small!) chance of getting tasty green beans rather than tasty yellow beans.
Yellow, tasty, stringless, good yields of long beans. Beware may come out green in some conditions!
80 seeds £
‘Abundance’ Green Pole Bean
This variety lives up to its name. A really good bean from our trials in 2012, Abundance is early-cropping and makes large numbers of slightly flattened pods.
The flavour is excellent and we like them so much that we've added them to our home garden bean patch every year.
Large crops of green, flattened pods.
80 seeds £
‘Coco Sophie’ Flat Pole Bean RARE
A tall climbing bean from the late 1700s. With very flat pods, it looks like a runner, but really isn't, it's a proper french bean! This was chosen because it has a wonderful buttery texture when cooked.
After three hundred years, it became commercially unavailable in 2006. We have now brought this rare bean back, starting with a small sample from our seedbank. The seed we have here was grown for us by the Seed Cooperative in Gosberton.
Beautiful white seeds, large buttery green pods.
50 seeds £
~ BUSH BEAN Seed~
Ideal for an early crop, and the best for more exposed sites or
if you don't want to be bothered with making supports.
Yellow Bush Bean NEW VARIETY
We have now replaced our previous yellow bean Minidor with this larger and more vigorous variety - bigger plants and bigger beans but the same bright golden yellow pods. Pretty and tasty, the pods have a lovely smooth buttery taste when cooked.
Unlike purple beans, they do keep their lovely yellow colour after cooking and look really pretty on the plate or in a salad.
Bush bean with bright yellow pods. (i.e. a wax-podded type)
130 seeds £
'Aquilon' Green Bush Bean
An excellent green bush bean from France chosen for earliness and productivity. Very tasty too, and it makes so many beans, we just love it!
A modern variety with round green pods up to 20 cm long! - produced in large numbers. Popular because they are stringless, and grow high up, so easy to find when picking. We like it a lot.
Long green pods. A really good early bush bean, this is a new crop grown for us by the UK Seed Cooperative in Lincolnshire.
80 seeds £
'Cupidon' Filet Bush Bean
This is a wonderful bush bean that produces a huge number of tender green pods all summer, starting early, and continuing cropping well after the others have finished. It has a particularly good flavour used raw in salads.
This is actually a dual-purpose bean -the pods are a
filet type so if you like it can be picked very small and eaten that
(Filet beans are the ones with long straight slender pods that are very pointy at the end, traditionally a gourmet dish: picked tiny, lightly steamed and served with butter.) The beans also stay stringless as they get to full size and it makes a fantastic normal french bean, with a particularly good flavour raw.
Sadly, it does not make many seeds and this is unfortunately reflected in the price - but if you can afford it, it is a fantastic bean.
Green pods. A special, gourmet early/maincrop bush variety ,that is long cropping.
90 seeds £
~ DRY / SHELLING BEAN Seed~
Drying / Shelling beans are for harvesting dry beans to eat, not the pods. They have been selected for maximal seed production and the pods are often thin and stringy - they’re not the bit we eat. Instead they produce large yields of nutritious seeds.
Jacobs Cattle Gold
A beautiful gold/white splotched bush bean, named after Jacobs cattle in the Bible.
The original stock for this variety was obtained from the Passamaquoddy Indians in Maine. It is a well adapted variety for dry bean seed production, and yields can be exceptional. Great winter staple for soups and chilli.
Beautiful drying beans with a delicious flavour.
SMALL packet (rare!) of 50 seeds £
'Royal Burgundy' Purple Bush Bean
A beautiful and productive purple bean bred for home gardeners by the late Elwyn Meader.
It is a really good variety, cropping over a long period. Purple pods, flowers and stems, and the beans are easy to pick as they stand out against the foliage.
Chosen because as well as a beautiful colour, the plant is tolerant of cold wet soils.
90 seeds £
~ Vegetable Seed-SAVING - HOW TO SAVE your own Bean Seed ~
The physical seed-saving is easy, but the need for isolation
(to keep the seed true to type) depends on the species:
- French Beans (this page) do cross, but not so easily, so you can grow more than one variety in different parts of your garden so long as you are careful about roguing out (getting rid of) any off types each year.
- Runner Beans DO cross very easily, so only grow one variety if you want to keep the seed.
- Broad Beans also cross A LOT and are harder to keep for seed as you need to isolate them from others with 1/2 a mile or so.
Also, be sure that you don't plant types with similar-coloured
seeds next to each other,
otherwise you'll not be sure which plant they come from if they all grow tangled together.
More detailed seed-saving instructions are included with your seeds, so you can do all this yourself at home.