Climbing Beans (Including Seven Year) and French
There are many different bean varieties grouped into five main categories: climbing/runner/pole beans, French/bush beans, seven year beans (a perennial form of climbing bean that lasts for seven years in frost free areas), broad beans and borlotti beans. Runner beans, French beans and seven year beans have similar cultivation requirements and nutritional value. They are also used in similar ways.
Growing Climbing Beans
Sow seeds directly where they are to grow.
- Early summer in sub arctic areas
- Late spring - midsummer in areas with cool or cold winters
- Mid spring too in areas that have cool winters
- Seeds must be planted after the danger of frost has passed or both the sown seeds and later the seedlings, must be protected until after the last frost
- Spring - summer in temperate areas
- All year round in warm arid and subtropical areas
- All but the hottest months in tropical areas
French beans can be harvested between 8 and 10 weeks after germination. Climbing varieties take a little longer to mature and are usually read to harvest 10-12 weeks after germination.
Beans are usually steamed or boiled. They are a good as a side dish or in soups and casseroles. They are often added to salads but they are cooked first and then dipped in cold water to prevent further cooking and nutrient loss.
Climbing and French beans are a good source of vitamins A, C and K as well as fibre and protein. They are also moderate sources of the minerals copper, potassium, calcium and iron as well as a range of B vitamins and plant hormones.