Seed List

Ernie's Big Eye

Dwarf French Bean Black African Bean

Donated in the early 1980s by an American member, this selection of the ancient ‘Trout’ variety produces pale-green, luscious young pods, or, if allowed to dry, tasty white seeds speckled with burgundy. Carries pods high on the compact plants so may need staking later in the season. Found by Seed Guardians to be particularly disease resistant.

10 seeds
French bean
Dwarf
Green varieties

Extra Hatif de Juillet

Climbing French Bean Extra Hatif de Juillet

Our donor has never wanted to grow another haricot since discovering this one, originally purchased from a French market stall in the early 1950s. Once established this white seeded bean is fast-growing and vigorous, producing white flowers and flat pods, which bulge around the plump beans, until the first frosts. Flavoursome and completely stringless, even when fully mature.

10 seeds
French bean
Climbing
Green varieties

Ice/Crystal Wax

Dwarf French Bean Ice Crystal Wax seeds

Dating back to at least 1882, this Dutch-bred variety was used by the English as a forcing bean for hothouses. Produces compact plants (30-50cm) with white flowers followed by green pods that lighten with age to almost a silver-white giving, with a little imagination, the impression of icicles. Great fresh; either raw in salads when very young, or lightly steamed. Good flavour and texture when cooked after freezing, also dries well for use as a pulse. Sow to harvest 50-70 days (approx.)

10 seeds
French bean
Dwarf
Coloured varieties

Jiahma

Climbing French Bean Jiahma

Originally from the Ukraine these beans were named by our donor using the initals of her husband and his four sisters. Produces white flowers and yellow-green pods containing small beans that are delicious gently steamed. The pretty bicoloured white and maroon/brown seeds can also be used dried. We would welcome your opinion on this variety.

10 seeds
French bean
Climbing
Green varieties
Organic

Kew Blue

Climbing French Bean Kew Blue

Originally from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this variety has been handed down for at least three generations in our donor's family. The purple-pink flowers are complemented by purple-tinged leaves and stems, and followed by flat purple pods. A healthy and vigorous vine producing a prolific crop of tender pods. Perfect for eating fresh or freezing, and when dried the beans have a rich, nutty flavour.

10 seeds
French bean
Climbing
Coloured varieties

Lazy Housewife

Climbing French Bean Lazy Housewife

A German heritage variety popular there since the early 1800s. Thought to have earned its name as at the end of the season the leaves wither and expose the pods making them easy to pick. Growing to around 2.5m in height this white-flowered variety is hardy and resilient, and very productive. One of our Seed Guardians commented that “the beans just kept coming; I grew tired of picking them every other day! The flavour is superb.” Also copes well with hot, dry conditions.

10 seeds
French bean
Climbing
Green varieties

Major Cook's Bean

Climbing French Bean Major Cook's Bean

Passed to our donor, Mr Luxton, by his father in 1960. Mr Luxton Sr. was given these bicoloured seeds by Major Cook, a colleague in The Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Albert, France. Major Cook was a keen gardener, trained at Kew. The beans were probably originally developed in Southampton in about 1900 by experimental horticulturist Alderman Vokes (Major Cook's grandfather). Produces pretty purple-violet flowers followed by a huge crop of stringless beans with a very fine flavour.

10 seeds
French bean
Climbing
Coloured varieties

Majorcan Pea Bean

Climbing French bean Majorcan Pea Bean seeds

This pea bean was donated by a member who discovered them in a Majorcan market during the late 1980s. The seeds are the typical bicolour of pea beans; however, the maroon half is additionally striped with brown. Produces tall (up to 2.5m), strong vines and a good yield of tasty pods, but can be a little stringy if used fresh, and is best used as a drying bean.

10 seeds
French bean
Climbing
Green varieties

Montezuma's Red

Dwarf French Bean Montezuma's Red

Early and prolific, this variety is described as a dwarf bean, but has a tendency to climb to around 1-1.5m and requires some support. Small creamish-yellow flowers are followed by flattened pods, perfect for using fresh when young, but even better as a dried bean once mature. Garden Organic's Sally Cunningham says that they are meaty and succulent, ideal for bean burgers or chilli. 

10 seeds
French bean
Dwarf
Green varieties

Mr Fearn's Purple Flowered

Climbing French Bean Mr Fearn's Purple Flowered

Donor Bernard Fearn has been growing this variety since WWII, though they existed many years before that. The pretty purple flowers are followed by long, silky pods. Mr Fearn says, “They grow very well in a cold greenhouse – avoid hot sun or outside growing.” Seed Guardian Carol Baxter adds, “You can't fault this bean, it has great taste, yields and looks good too!” The juicy, tender and sweet beans are ideal for freezing, a good job as it is so prolific.

10 seeds
French bean
Climbing
Green varieties