Our donor passed this variety, thought to date back to around 1890, to HSL after acquiring the beans from a friend's Hungarian husband. His family used them dried throughout winter, but when young the pods are delicious, sweet and stringless. An early variety with pretty pink and white flowers, followed by yellow pods. Guardian David Howells found that they seemed less susceptible to aphid attack than other French beans he grows. 10 seeds.
Syn. Gourmet Delight. A vigorous variety donated by John Yeoman of The Village Guild. Produces a heavy crop of glossy green, round, stringless pods 15-20cm in length and thought to show resistance to bean rust. Can also be used as a drying bean. Sow to harvest 55-60 days (approx.)
Gardening writer Andi Clevely was sent these beans by a reader in response to an article he had written for The Garden in May 2001. The reader had, in turn, been given them by his father during the 1960s. Originally brought to the UK by Sicilian gardener, Giovanni Dolce, the beans were named 'John's Beans' after him. They produce white flowers followed by prolific clusters of stringless pods. The pods are delicious when young, and the dried beans have a lovely nutty flavour.
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.
Our donor bought these beans from a market in Madeira in December 1995 and has been growing and saving seed ever since. He says of them “They proved to be similar to runner beans in vigour and produce very large and tasty beans, much larger than the normal haricot type.” Tender and tasty as young pods, and perfect as a dried bean.
Donated by Syd Melbourne who was given seeds in the 1970s by a fellow vegetable gardener at Hurst Horticultural Society Show, Bexley, Kent. It is a tall, easy to grow variety which produces very pale yellow flowers followed by a heavy crop of round, green pods. So tender, the young pods can be eaten raw or cooked.
Syn. Dutch Half Runner. This white seeded variety originates with the settlers of the Dutch Fork Section of South Carolina, USA. Growing to around 1.2m in height it produces white flowers and short, straight, pale green pods over a long season. When eaten young the pods are stringless and tasty, although the beans are equally delicious dried.
Grown by Mr Brooks in the 1960s, but passed to us by his neighbour who has grown the beans since 1969. The buff-coloured seeds produce 50-60cm plants and very attractive mauve and lilac flowers followed by slim, flat, purple pods. Best picked when young as pods become a little stringy as they mature. Sow to harvest 70 days (approx.)
Our Leicestershire-based donor acquired these seeds from her neighbour who, in turn, had been given them by a cousin, Mrs Lewis from Suffolk. Mrs Lewis said that this bean could not be bought commercially anymore and believed it to be ‘Purple Pod’, mentioned in a 1979 Percy Thrower book. Grows to 1.8m with purple stems and very dark leaves. Small purple flowers are followed by bright, shiny, flat purple pods which, when young, are delicious steamed. The dried beans have a lovely nutty flavour.