~ 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?
Screen is too small to display the sowing calendar. Try turning your device sideways.
= normal sowing & harvest time = also possible depending on conditions
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 55 seeds £
Violette' Purple Pole Bean
A really vigorous early bean with purple flowers, stems & pods. (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.
Tall, with purple pods that stay stringless even when big.
approx 75 Seeds £
‘Neckargold’ Usually Yellow Pole Bean SEE NOTE
A delicious tender yellow climbing bean. 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, staying tender for longer than other varieties.
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 - 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 - it is simply a reaction to certain soil or climate conditions.
We thought about dropping it , but so many people raved about it - it is such a good bean, so very productive and tasty. 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.
approximately 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.We love this bean because it has an absolutely wonderful buttery texture when cooked and an excellent flavour.
After three hundred years, it became commercially unavailable in 2006. We brought this rare bean back, starting with a small sample from our seedbank. Not available every year, but if you like it - as we think you will - it's very easy to keep your own seed following the instructions supplied.
Beautiful white seeds, large buttery green pods.
48-50 seeds £
‘Princess’ Flat-podded Pole Bean VERY RARE
This wonderful bean was recommended to us by Camilla Plum, seed collector and celebrity gardener from Denmark. She sent a few seed from her collection and explained that it was a very old variety that is no longer in circulation, and that it was unique because the pods stay tender for ages on the plant, even when they get fat and the beans have filled out.
We tried it here in Wales and it was really good with exceptionally tasty, big flattened pods.
Seed not available every year, so again do save your own for future use if you like it.
aaprox 50 seeds, organic £
~ 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.
An excellent green bush bean from France chosen for exceptional earliness and productivity. Very tasty too, and it makes so many beans, we just love it!
Stringless and tender pods produced in large numbers , this is our reccommendation for a normal green bean.
Long green pods. A really good early bush bean.
approximately 100 seeds £
Yellow Bush Bean
An excellent yellow bush bean that makes really large numbers of fat yellow pods on compact plants.
A long-standing favourite and the one we plant every year for our own kitchen - large yields, they keep their yellow colour after cooking, and look really pretty on the plate or in a salad, with a particularly good flavour.
Excellent bush bean making lots of fat yellow pods.
approximately 120 seeds £
"Marvel of Piemonte"
Stripey Bush Bean HEAVY CROPPING
This bush bean from north Italy is chosen for its amazing appearance - the pale greeny-yellow pods have purple stripes!
Also early to crop and properly stringless. It has a really good buttery texture when cooked, and we have discovered it also holds well on the plant and doesn't go stringy or tough for ages, even if you miss some when picking.
Flat pods, streaked with purple, on a yellow background, great flavour.
approximately 100 seeds £
Admires' Flat Bush Bean DELICIOUS
An absolutely delicious flat-podded dwarf french bean. The pods do look like a runner bean but don’t be fooled, it really is a French Bean & as such much quicker and easier to grow. This one got rave feedback in our taste tests.
Early and very productive, with very tender pods.
approximately 100 seeds £
'Purple Queen' Bush Bean
This is stunningly productive - in our trials it was almost silly how the plants were laden with beans - the picture shows just one branch of one plant!
They are beautiful; with purple pods, flowers and stems, and the beans are easy to find when picking as they stand out against the foliage.
Very vigourous plants, make lots of delicious beans.
approx 80-90 seeds £
~ FILET BUSH BEAN Seed~
Filet beans are a gourmet dish: picked small,
lightly steamed and served with butter. They can be left to grow full size as well.
Yellow Filet Bush Bean
This new addition to the catalogue is an early, yellow filet. The plants are quite small yet make a lot of slender & tender pods, in an excellent bright yellow colour. As the beans are slim you only need to cook them very briefly, preserving the colour and flavour. A real treat!
Pick small as a filet or leave to get bigger (if you can resist eating them all straight away)
generous packet of approximately 120 seeds, organic £
'Cupidon' Filet Bush Bean
A filet-type bean, with long slender pods and a thin tip. An exquisite variety 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.
The pods are a filet type so if you like it can be picked very small and eaten that way. The beans also stay stringless as they get to full size and it makes a good normal french bean, with a particularly good flavour raw.
Sadly, it does not make many seeds and this is unfortunately reflected in the price/packet size - but if you can afford it, it is a fantastic bean.
Green pods. A special, gourmet early/maincrop filet variety.
about 80 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 (BUSH)
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 people of Maine - it is a widely adapted variety for dry bean seed production, and yields can be exceptional. Great winter staple for soups and chilli.
When we first got this, there was just one commercial seed grower left, and he has now stopped producing it. So we are maintaining what we can when there is room in our production schedule, with a just few small 'starter packets' available this year. If you like it, do consider saving your own seed to help keep this heritage variety alive.
Beautiful drying beans with a delicious flavour, does well for us in Wales.
Small starter packet (rare!) of approximately 40 seeds, organic £
Yin Yang (BUSH)
These are so beautiful we had to add them to the catalogue! An excellent dwarf bean for baking, casseroles and soups. Extremely productive 15" tall plants are widely adapted and make beautiful black & white beans.
Although really for drying, can be picked very young as a green bean.
Small packet (rare!) of approximately 45-50 seeds £Stock:
Lamon Borlotto (VINE, VERY BIG SEEDS)
A rare type of vine borlotti bean, which we have chosen for its massive seeds. As with all drying beans, the pods aren't the bit you eat - they have been bred to put all their effort into making fat buttery seeds.
The plants grow to about 6ft and the pods are really pretty too, with heavy red splashes on a pale yellow-green background. Quite early to harvest, as well!
Huge seed are delicious freshly shelled out, or dried and stored.
Small packet (rare!) of approximately 35-40 large seeds £Stock:
An early bush borlotti bean from Italy, colourful pods with pinky-red stripes on a pale cream background. Excellent shelled fresh or used dried. Ready in about 70 days from germination.
Seeds are prettiest when shelled out fresh - when they have stong red spashes - and dry to a darker tan colour.
Small packet (rare!) of approximately 50 seeds £Stock:
Taylors Dwarf Horticultural Bean (BUSH)
This is a drying bean from USA in the early 1800’s with pods that have quite pale red stripes on a cream background. One of the beans that fueled American prairie cooking at the time, it makes excellent refried beans (add some of our locoto chilli pepper for extra kick!) or baked beans, as well as soups and stews.
It has a reputation for being quite reliable , tolerating brief wet and cold spells better than one would expect.
Small packet (rare!) of approximately 50 seeds £Stock:
~ 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.