This year’s heroes: #3 – Dwarf French Beans – ‘Saxa’ and ‘Purple Queen’

This summer was the first time I’d tried to grow any other beans than Enorma or White Lady runners.  I do love runner beans deep down, but they do get stringy as we all know, and what’s more, Amelia doesn’t care for them.  That was the decider!

Enter french beans, then.  Two dwarf varieties chosen at random from the seed catalogue, which were started in module trays and transplanted out too soon (they were on their second set of leaves, but they went out onto the plot in May and were quickly followed by a cold snap and a dry spell).  They were slow starters because of this, but they recovered well and before we knew it we were inundated.


In front: Purple Queen.  Behind: Saxa.

The photo above shows around two thirds of the space devoted to beans – an area this size again was split between beans and Earlibird sweetcorn.

The taste was great, Amelia loves them (I have a great photo of her with two pods sticking out of her mouth like fangs, but that’s for another day…) and after harvesting I just pulled them and dug them straight into the ground in what was to become the garlic n’ onion bed.

I’ll be going back to these varieties (Purple Queen especially), the only question is whether to stick with dwarf varieties or build a ‘Munty’ frame for them.  I think gievn the exposed site I’ll stick to the dwarf variety, though I’m not sure how much the yield could be increased with climbing varieties.

The freezer still has half a dozen bags of blanched beans in it, which we are slowly but surely making our way through.

God Save the Purple Queen.


7 thoughts on “This year’s heroes: #3 – Dwarf French Beans – ‘Saxa’ and ‘Purple Queen’

  1. Love the blog. I think our veg heroes this year were the runner beans – saved seed over so many years I’m not sure of the variety. Things had to get on this year due to the incapacity of the chief gardener (my wife) and those runners kept me going on the dinner veg front.
    Parsnips have done well too. We are on good soil for roots. A fantastic Christmas dinner is in store. Parsnips is all it needs!
    We grew winter lettuces years ago (1970s) – I can’t remember the variety now. They survived winters but didn’t seem to offer much advantage over spring sown varieties.

  2. Thanks for the kind comments! I love saving my own seed – I do that with ‘Champion of England’ peas. My parsnips are looking good, only dared to dig one up though.

    I hope my lettuces do well, but this is my first try. I’d like some salad leaves to harvest over winter, but your comment is filling my with dread that these are really to grow OVERWINTER (one word!) waiting for spring, rather than OVER WINTER (two words!) with something to eat through the cold months.

    We will see!!

  3. Thanks; I enjoy plugging through reading about other people’s experiences in their gardens and allotments. Some lovely photos on your blog, too!

  4. I would highly recommend them! I have just started off this year’s batch of Purple Queen in modules.

    You may be able to fit them in all sorts of corners, around compost bins, in small empty spaces – they don’t need much space per plant and indeed, can be spaced as little as 6-8 inches apart in each direction, so they will support each other as they grow.

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