Allotment Associations & Horticultural Groups in Harrow, Middlesex


Setting Up the Trial
Photos 12th July 2011
Update 20th August 2011
Bean Trial Results Table


After our very popular trial of tomatoes in the summer of 2010 we decided to trial different variations of climbing French beans during the 2011 growing period

French beans are not always green, but may be yellow, purple or spotted, and there are dwarf and climbing types. Climbing beans have the advantage that they are soon out of the easy reach of slugs. However, they do need to be supported by tall canes, as they grow to 2 metres or higher. Some varieties are especially good for salads, others to use for dried beans.


Setting up the Trial

Ten varieties of bean seeds were bought from Seeds of Italy, based in Harrow.
In late April, on the same day, seeds were sown in pots in an unheated greenhouse.
In mid-May, 2 to 3 plants plants of each variety were planted out in the trials bed at our Harrow in LEAF Headquarters in West Harrow Allotments, once there was no risk of frost.
We erected a double row of 8 ft canes, in wigwam formation, to support the plants. Beans were harvested regularly throughout the growing period and weighed regularly.


Photos 12th July 2011

bean pyramids bean pyramids
bean pyramids bean pyramids

Update 20th August 2011

Although our trials are not proper scientific ones, they do give us an opportunity to see how a few varieties can perform in our heavy clay soil, and to see which ones grow vigorously, crop well, or succumb to pests or diseases.
We can also obtain some personal opinions on one important factor - their taste.
We took samples of each variety to our 7th Annual Harrow in Leaf Show so that our visitors could see some of the French Bean varieties available.
Unfortunately we were not able to have any produce available for the public to taste.


Results of our French Bean Trials 2011







Blauhilde Purple Good; foliage sparse 30oz. Good Oval Purple Pods (go green when cooked)
St. Anna Green Good, early but short season 31oz. Good Green
Neckargold Yellow good, early 36oz. Good Straight long round yellow pods
Bobis a Grano Nero Green   35oz. Good, even when "seedy"  Green Pencil Pods with Black seeds
Supermarconi Green Very heavy growth and foliage, but no beans yet     Wide flat green stringless pods
Fasold Yellow/Green Early Plants damaged   Round Green Pods with Black Seeds
Meraviglia di Venezia Yellow Good Long Season 38oz. Voted Best Wide Yellow Pods, good for salads
Smeraldo Green Poor, slow to produce, but long season     Long Greens and wide stringless pods
Anellino Giallo Yellow/Green Late to produce     "Prawn shaped" Yellow Pods
Trionfo Violetto Purple Slow growth 28oz. Good Purple pods go green when cooked



On the whole the results of our 2011 Bean trials were both positive and promising.
The taste was generally well received by the trialists and these French Beans had a more crunchy texture than runner beans.
The yellow Meraviglia di Venezia beans were considered to have the best flavour in the taste testing, and were considered good for salads.


Published: 5th Dec 2011

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