There are plenty of good reasons why it’s always worth trying out new and different varieties of even the most traditional allotment staples. Different varieties can exhibit useful variations in flavour, colour, shape, productivity, disease tolerance and crucially suitability to your individual growing conditions. However, for the Blauhilde variety of climbing french beans it’s all about the colour!
Instead of the more typical green, Blauhilde produces french beans with a striking rich purple colour. Both of the flowers and stems are also the same lovely vibrant purple colour making Blauhilde a very pleasing ornamental addition to the plot as well. However, as with the majority of purple vegetables the purple exterior will sadly turn to green when cooked.
Blauhilde is a mid-season variety of climbing french bean and tends to crop vigorously over a long period provided that you keep up with harvesting beans. The beans are stringless and I tend to harvest them when they’re anywhere between 8 – 12 cm long. If left grow, Blauhilde will produce very long beans which are still stringless but not quite as tender. In terms of taste, they’re just as delicious as the usual green french beans. All in all, even if I didn’t have an allotment I’d grow Blauhilde in my borders as a climbing ornamental with an extra edible bonus!
Seeds are available from The Organic Gardening Catalogue and should be sown and grown exactly as any other climbing french beans. As always, I’d love to know what everyone else has been sowing, growing or harvesting this week. So please let me know in the comments or via Twitter.