A Summer of Beans

Which is the vegetable most worthwhile growing? Very high on my list are climbing beans, just because they are so prolific. Once the beans set they produce enough beans every single day, until frost hits. Of course, if you life in a frost free climate, they die without the frost, they are annuals after all. It is actually the continuous harvest every other day, which ensures you that the beans keep producing.

Beans are expensive, usually around $7 a kilo. If you plant, say a two meter row of climbing beans you will have enough to give plenty away.

Beans like to climb up high, and to me it seems that towards the end of the season, most beans grow where I cannot reach them. This year, I was trying to get a low trellis to a good use (tiding up a bit) and grow some beans. This was the only spot with a miserable harvest – one meter is just not enough for beans.


I was taught by a Frenchman how to cook them. Simply boil in water until tender, pour off the water. Then heat a good amount of butter and garlic in a pan and sauté the cooked beans for some minutes.

There is one thing climbing beans dislike: salt. I once worked liberally mushroom compost in my soil and got no beans, not a single one, because mushroom compost contains salt (and some other nasties). You will probably have difficulties growing beans in a seaside garden too.

I grow the boring old variety ‘Kentucky Wonder’, it’s a good variety. Which varieties do you grow?

Nicola Bludau

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