Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Beanage - Vivre le Difference?

I'm growing beans in Scotland.  Here's the current state of play: Dwarf Beans...

...and here's how they looked in June:

Early June

This picture shows my climbing beans (with the dwarf beans in the foreground)

and here's another angle. One end is not doing as well as the other. That's the French bean end which is so sparse. The healthy looking end is our stalwart runner beans Painted Lady.  These can be traced back to 1633 when they were imported from the Americas. The flowers are both red and white which purportedly give it the British name "York and Lancaster", being the opposing houses in the War of the Roses.  The only problem with this nomenclature is that the War of the Roses ended in  1488,  one hundred and forty five years earlier.  All the same they are the most resilient, reliable beans you can grow.   By contrast climbing French beans Blue Lake  and Cobra have not reacted well to the Caledonian climate.  Growth has been 'delicate' and pretty well static during the recent cold spell.  There have been some beans but not many, and a lot less than the runners. Their growing habit is also very erratic, wandering here and there In future I would make a point of tying each plant to its pole as they do wander. Having said that I'm not likely to repeat the experiment. On the plus side the beans we have had have been very tasty!

Another experiment has been dwarf French bean Mascotte.  These are very fine/thin, grow quickly and in abundance.  They all crop at once.  Successional sowing would be a good idea. And yes, with that proviso, I would grow these again.

Next to them is another stalwart: drying bean Canadian Wonder: I've arranges string to provide a bit more support as despite the close spacing (see below) some plants were flopping over. I hope that will do the trick.
Canadian Wonder now

Canadian Wonder in June

All in all it has been an interesting bean year.  The stalwarts have done better than the experiments.


  1. Oh has the war of the roses ended?

    Shame about Con=bra as ours convinced us to just grow climbing French beans next year

  2. Are you sure that the War of the Roses ended in 1488. I think it still goes on today. They got thrashed at cricket on their home patch this week. (Cricket is a strange sport played with a lump of wood and a round leather thing.)

    I think we might give low growing beans a miss next year. Ours always finish up touching the soil and slug damaged. Cobra have done well for us this year in tropical Yorkshire so we though we'd try some other climbing French beans next year.

    That rhubarb looks good, ours is in a pretty poor state. We certainly haven't got any ready to pick.

  3. I'm also a fan of Cobra, which I have grown for many years. But then the climate down here in Hampshire is practically sub-tropical!

  4. OK OK, I can see I'm outnumbered on the Cobra front. I might give it another go next year and start earlier indoors. But tell me, do you train each plant to a cane every six inches? They seem so determined to wander!