Those of you who read my blog will know that I am a little fussy about my French/Pole beans. I like them tender, straight and slim. I am also a sucker for an unusually coloured vegetable and have tried purple beans like blauhild or yellow like Golden Gate with a lot of success.
I thought therefore I would enjoy Nekar gold a climbing yellow french/pole bean. When young the beans are tender however my one issue with them is that they do not start to turn yellow until the pods start to fill by which time they take on a decidedly lumpy appearance and therefore the attractiveness of the yellow is outweighed by the age of the bean. They still remain tender at that stage but just look over the hill. If you want a yellow bean Golden Gate or concador are much better flavoured and good looking.
In the kitchen
I would harvest when still light green. When fine steam or simmer whole for a few minutes until tender.If larger slice in to sections a couple of inches long.
Try BBQ or griddled beans for something a little different. Cook for a few minutes each side until griddle lines appear, turn and repeat.
They also make a fabulous pickle, chutney or try finely slicing and salting lightly with a little chilli or lemon zest and serve after a couple of hours later as a zesty pickle/chutney with grilled meat or fish.
Yield and Plant Health
Climbing or pole beans are slower to mature than their dwarf cousins but they make up for it with a much higher yield and can produce 600g to 1kg of fruit per plant. I would put Neckar gold towards the lower end of that spectrum but it is still a big haul of nearly 10 portions per plant over a long season. Eight plants will keep a family of four supplied with beans through the season with a little extra for friends or the freezer.
There are not many diseases that affect the non commercial grower of beans in the UK, slugs can be an issue on young beans. I didn’t experience any issues with Neckar gold and the plants were healthy and have coped with an indifferent summer.
French beans are not hardy so in the UK they cannot be planted out until the last frosts which is usually around the end of May or early July. They will sulk if planted out too soon and subject to cold and wet weather.
In mid to late May, using root trainers or 3 inch pots, sow two beans per module, 3cm deep. Water, cover and leave to germinate in a warm sunny spot. The beans will start to show themselves after a few days. When all the beans have germinated you can start to harden off by taking outside and putting in a sheltered spot during the day and returning indoors overnight for a week, finally leaving outside for a couple of days until ready to plant out. Repeat every three weeks for dwarf beans to get successional crops. You may only need two sowings for climbing beans.
Beans need to be planted in a sheltered, sunny spot in rich but well drained soil. Adding plenty of rotted manure or compost before planting and mulching after planting will benefit them enormously. Climbing beans will need wigwams, trellis or canes to grow up. Plant 10 cm apart, water well. Continue to water until they are established but then only during dry spells. Once the beans arrive (late June or July) you will need to pick at least every other day to keep them flowering for as long as possible. Beans should be shiny and the beans not showing in the pod for optimum tenderness. Dwarf beans will often give you a second crop later in the season.
French Bean – Golden Teepee (dwarf)