These stout, upright bean plants need no support and they grow to maturity faster than runner beans. Each individual plant produces close to a month-long harvest of table-ready beans in next to no time. From seed to ripened pod in as little as 7 weeks, dwarf beans are easy and very economical to grow. Plants generally grow just lower than knee height.
Celery, sweet corn, cucumber, melon, cabbage, broccoli, kale.
Sow from August in pots and plant out from September.
The sun needs to reach your planting position for at least 3 to 4 hours per day when it’s out. You can plant your dwarf beans in rows or blocks or even plant individual plants into gaps and small spaces in beds as well as containers.
A well dug, free draining soil that holds plenty of garden compost is ideal.
You can sow dwarf beans into pots and punnets in early spring so they are ready for the garden as soon as temperatures warm up and all threat of frosts in your area has passed. If frosts are not a threat, then you can sow straight into your beds in early spring. Before you sow, soak your bean seeds in water overnight to encourage good germination. When sowing in trays or pots space your pairs of beans about a finger-length apart. Water well and then place somewhere warm and sunny. Your seedlings are ready for planting when the first set of heart-shaped, true leaves have followed on from the fattish, rounded ‘cotyledon’ leaves.
Whether planting in rows, blocks or individually, you should allow a spacing of about one or two full hand’s length between plants. Water well and mulch around your plants to retain moisture and deter weeds.
Maintain constant soil moisture throughout the growth and fruiting period.
Feed every two weeks with a ready-made liquid feed such as liquid seaweed.
Watch out for slugs and snails that can damage young seedlings.
Aphids may also come calling – in which case treat any visible infestations.
As with other beans, it is all in the picking once your first bean pods show. Bush beans should be picked when still resembling slender cylindrical green tubes, generally about the length of your longest finger. If you wait till they start to lump up around the developing beans inside the pods, they’ll make for a scaly, stringy mouthful when it comes to eating them. Once you start picking, move through your plants systematically taking the ripened beans so that more will follow.
Once you have started harvesting, remember to keep an eye on your developing plants too, so that your summer bean cycle will continue to be bountiful. Sow further plants every 3 to 4 weeks right up to mid-summer.
EASY RECIPE FOR GREEN BEANS
2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black
Blanch green beans in a large stock pot of well salted boiling water until bright green in color and tender crisp, roughly 2 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop from cooking.
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and the butter. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans and continue to saute until coated in the butter and heated through, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.