Climbing Bean 'Blue Lake'
Scientific Name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Common Name: Climbing Bean 'Blue Lake', Pole Bean, French Bean, Green Bean
This heirloom climbing bean variety was bred in the USA during the late 19th century.
Blue lake climbing beans produce juicy and flavourful pods that are string-less. The beans of this variety will remain tender even when left on the vine for too long. They taste best steamed briefly so that they retain their crispness. The seeds of this variety are white and when the pods are left to fully mature and dry on the plant they can be harvested as a dry haricot bean.
Climbing beans prefer growing in a location that receives full sun or light shade. Climbing beans grow best in a fertile, free-draining soil rich in organic matter, if your garden is lacking place down a layer of compost or well-rotted cow manure prior to planting. Bean plants have nodules on their roots that host rhizobia bacteria which are able to fix nitrogen from the air and provide it to the plant for leafy growth. This doesn't mean that they never require fertiliser as insufficient levels of nutrients other than nitrogen can stunt bean plants and reduce yields. Top dress around bean plants with a complete organic fertiliser if growth is slow or at the first sign of any nutrient deficiencies. Blue lake is a vigorous climbing variety of French bean that can grow up to 2.5m tall, it requires a sturdy well-built trellis to support its vines and make harvesting easier. Pinch out the main growing tip once the vines have reached their desired height to force them to concentrate on producing flowers and side shoots. Bean plants have shallow root systems that are prone to drying out, mulching around bean plants can help to retain soil moisture and keep their root systems cool. Water climbing beans regularly if you want vigorous, productive plants. Bean flowers are self-pollinating so good fruit set is almost guaranteed. Protect bean plants from strong winds as these can cause the flowers to fall off reducing yields. Harvest beans regularly, ideally before they are fully mature as this will encourage the plants to produce additional flowers. Climbing blue lake beans are resistant to bean mosaic virus.
When to Sow:
In cold and mountainous areas of Australia sow climbing bean seeds from mid Spring to early Summer. In temperate areas of Australia sow climbing bean seeds from early Spring to late Summer. In subtropical areas of Australia sow climbing bean seeds from late Winter to mid Autumn. In tropical areas of Australia sow climbing bean seeds during the dry season from mid Autumn to mid Winter.
How to Sow:
Direct-sow blue lake climbing bean seeds 2.5cm deep spacing planting holes about 15cm apart along the base of a trellis. For thicker foliage and maximum use of space plant two climbing bean seeds per hole, they won't compete with each other much and overall production will be greater. Climbing bean seeds can be started in punnets but will need to be transplanted soon after germination as they grow quickly, their roots will fill the entire punnet and start growing out of the drainage holes within a couple of weeks.
Blue lake climbing bean seeds germinate quickly and consistently, most seedlings will emerge 6 to 14 days after sowing.
Time to Harvest:
Blue lake climbing beans take 11 to 12 weeks to start producing pods. Blue lake is a long cropping variety with high yields.