French Bean 'Blauhilde' is a reliable, attractive and extremely purple-skinned climbing French bean. This well known German heritage variety produces attractive purple-skinned pods that have excellent flavour and can be harvested continuously over a long period from mid summer to late autumn.
Sow indoors from mid April for transplanting later on, or direct sow outdoors from late May to July. The vigorous plants grow to a height of around 180cm (70in) with a spread of 30cm (12in) and need tall trellis. The entire plant is pretty, purple flowers and purple stems, they produce myriads of flowers from which large, long 20 to 25cm (8 to 10in), fleshy and stringless pods develop. 70 days to maturity. This variety has good resistance to Bean Mosaic Virus so you can be sure of an excellent yield. Keep picking for harvests that last all summer.
When cooked, the color turns into a particularly appetizing emerald green. They taste slightly sweet with a good bean aroma. The consistency remains al dente, they do not fall apart when cooked.
Blauhilde can be grown against a trellis, up netting or up canes set 100cm (3ft) apart. They can be interplanted with peas or runner beans. Because they use vertical space, they free up the horizontal rows in the vegetable garden for other varieties while bearing abundant harvests and they are easier than bush beans to harvest.
Many gardeners prefer pole beans for their distinctive 'beany' flavour. Eaten raw they make a tasty and crunchy addition to summer salads, but their versatility doesn't end there as they are perfect for freezing - and any left at the end of the season can be dried and the beans used as haricot beans.
Where to grow:
Beans prefer to grow in moist, fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered spot away from strong winds. Prepare the soil for planting by digging over and adding plenty of organic material, this will help to improve the soil's moisture-retaining ability and fertility.
Beans can also be grown in pots. Choose pots at least 45cm (18in) in diameter and make sure there are plenty of drainage holes. Fill with a mixture of equal parts loam-based compost and loam-free compost.
Create a support before planting, either make a wigwam with canes, lashed together with string at the top, or create a parallel row of canes, which have their tops tightly secured to a horizontal cane. Add to the ornamental appeal of wigwams by planting a few fragrant sweetpeas alongside them. These will twine together as they climb, attracting pollinating insects to the beans, and providing flowers to pick at the same time as the crop
Sow under cover from mid April or direct sow outside after the last frosts from mid May to July.
Beans with the exception of Broad Beans are warm season crops and frost tender. Seeds germinate best at 18 to 25°C; seed will rot in cold, wet soil and even if they do germinate the plants will lack vigour and be overtaken by a later sowing into a warmer soil. They thrive in warm conditions and so are an ideal crop to grow under protection - greenhouse or polytunnel.
Even when temperatures are not below freezing, cold air can damage bean plants, so don't plant too early. Sowing seeds early indoors gives a faster and more reliable germination rate. Beans sown directly outside often germinate poorly or get attacked by slugs.
Avoid problems by sowing seeds in mid April and May in pots or root trainers in the greenhouse. Robust young plants will be ready to plant outside within about 5 weeks, growing away far quicker than outdoor sowings. Plant outdoors only after the last frosts, May onwards.
Sow a single bean seed, 4cm (½in) deep, in root trainers or into a 7.5cm (3in) pot filled with multipurpose compost. Water well, label and place on a sunny windowsill to germinate. Seedlings will be ready to plant out after about three weeks. Before planting, put in a cold frame to acclimatise.
Alternatively, beans can be sown directly in the soil between the second half of May and the middle of July.
Plant two seeds next to your support about 5cm (2in) deep. Water well after sowing and then do not water again until seedlings appear.
After germination remove the smaller and less robust of the two young plants. As they grow, ensure the plants continue to twine around their canes. Hill plants, up to 10cm (4in) deep, to protect from wind damage.
Having shallow roots regular and plentiful watering is vital. Whilst they will prove drought tolerant, good watering from flowering time onwards will ensure maximum pod development. Beans should be watered particularly heavily, twice a week in dry weather. Mulch around the stems in early summer.
Don’t hoe around bean plants too deeply or you may damage the roots.
Beans capture nitrogen from the air, so make sure the soil contains the other essential ingredients, phosphorus and potassium. So for the fertilizer use something like 10-20-10. They leave the soil nitrogen-enriched even after harvest
Harvesting: Matures in 70 days.
Pick daily, early in the morning for the best flavour, the pods are best picked often and before you can see the bean seed shape inside.
Most beans should bear pods from late July and cropping can continue until the first frosts, or longer if plants are protected. Climbing varieties produce for a longer period than dwarf varieties.
Remember that to eat a bean before the seeds ripen is a great luxury; historically, the beans, once dried, were too useful a winter food to be eaten, indulgently, as a summer dish of unripened pods.
Beans will store best if you remove the pods, spread them on trays and place them in a warm dry room for a few days to dry out completely before storing them in clean jars in a cool dry place. Discard any that are discoloured or damaged. The beans will then keep for a few years. Check them over periodically to make sure no insects have got in as you would with any store cupboard food.
To cook the dried beans, they will need soaking first, they are best left overnight in a big bowl of water. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, discarding one or more batches of soaking water leaches out hard-to-digest complex sugars that can cause flatulence.
Before using in a recipe, boil the soaked beans for at least 45 minutes, or boil for ten minutes, tip off the water and add fresh water, then bring to the boil again and boil for at least another 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t add salt to these first boilings as it can make the beans rather hard.
Allow bean pods to dry on plant; then break them open to collect the large bean seeds. Clean and dry the seeds before storage in cool dry conditions. Remember to label the package with the variety name and harvest date.
Phaseolus vulgaris, commonly known as bean, is a large genus of annual vegetables in the pea family that are primarily native to Central America and South America, with a few species native to North America. Columbus reportedly introduced some plants of this genus to the Mediterranean in 1493 when he returned from his second voyage to the New World. The modern understanding of the genus Phaseolus indicates a genus endemic only to the New World.
Now grown worldwide for its edible bean, popular both dry and as a green bean. The leaf is occasionally used as a leaf vegetable, and the straw is used for fodder.
A highly variable species with a long history. Bush (or Dwarf) varieties form erect bushes 20 to 60cm (8 to 24in) tall, while Pole or Running varieties form vines 180 to 270cm (6 to 9ft) tall.
The Blauhilde variety is believed to be German in origin and dates back to the 1800's. Some say that the purple bean colour is useful at harvest time because it lets you see clearly where the beans are.
The generic name Phaseolus was introduced by Linnaeus in 1753, from the Latin phaseolus, a diminutive of phasēlus, in turn borrowed from the Greek for a word meaning 'cowpea'.
The species name vulgaris derives from the Latin meaning common.
It is also known as the French bean, common bean, string bean, field bean, flageolet bean, garden bean, haricot bean, pop bean, or snap bean. Technically, the green bean is called a flageolet, whereas the dried bean is a haricot.
Blauhilde meaning 'Blue' produces deep purple pods which are far longer than your average French bean.
Blau is the German word for the colour blue, while Hilde is a girl's name of Germanic origin. Hilde is a variant of Brunhilda (Old German), Hilda (Old German) and Hildegarde (Old German), and the meaning of Hilde is 'ready for battle; battle woman; battle stronghold'.
It has the synonym 'Brunhilde'
- Additional Information
Packet Size 20 grams Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Common Name Climbing French Bean, Pole or Tall variety
Heritage (German 1800's)
Other Common Names Flageolet / haricot bean. Family Leguminosae Genus Phaseolus Species vulgaris Cultivar Blauhilde Synonym Brunhilde Hardiness Hardy Annual Position Sunny position Aspect In a sheltered spot away from strong winds. Soil Moist, fertile soil Time to Sow Sow indoors late April and May, outdoors in late May to July. Harvest 60 days. Time to Harvest Most should bear pods from late July to first frosts. Notes When the bean is green it is a flageolet bean, whereas when dried it is a haricot bean.