Be full of beans this summer, with these easy-grow edible climbers
- You don’t need lots of space to grow climbing beans – a deep pot or trug will do and a few canes or sturdy sticks. When you have less space, you want your veg to work harder so go for varieties that are pretty as well as productive. Bright red ‘Scarlet Emperor’ and salmon pink ‘Celebration’ providing eye-catching flowers, while Borlotti ‘Firetongue’ (which is eaten for its beans rather than pods) has gorgeous marbled pods. Dwarf beans area great choice if you don’t have space for a climbing frame, as they are self supporting. Give a dazzling display with Dwarf French Bean ‘Golddukat’, with its bright yellow pods or ‘Purple Queen’.
2. Fill a deep pot or large window box with a layer of broken crocks or grit for drainage, and top up with good quality peat-free compost. If you have a nice warm, sheltered front step or balcony, you can sow direct now. Create a wigwam for your climbing beans with four 4ft garden canes, tied at the top with string, or use small canes – which can be later tied to string supports and attached to outside walls or windows (as pictured). They create a lovely wall of green! Alternatively, you could let them twirl around balcony railings. Push one seed 5cm deep into the soil next to each cane.
3. If the weather stays cool, you might want to give your beans a headstart indoors. Sow in 7.5cm pots or trays of sowing compost and create a mini greenhouse using a cut off plastic bottle. Place on a bright, warm windowsill (maintaining temps of around 18o C) and in around 10 days, your seeds will emerge. Take off the bottle top so they can grow on in cooler conditions.
4. You’ll need to ‘harden off’ your plants before transplanting outdoors, which means placing them in a sheltered, warm spot outdoors in the day (away from winds and scorching sun) and bringing them back in at night for around seven days to get them used to outdoor conditions.
5. Just one or two climbing beans will produce a enough beans for a family of four over the summer. They can be productive from July right through to October!
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