Yes peas!

French Property News - - Joie De Vivre -

We have ac­cess to wood­land and our neigh­bours, who own it, have given us per­mis­sion to cut a few pea and bean sticks for use next sum­mer. What is the best type of wood to use – and when should we cut it? An­drea and Pe­ter Richards

Any wood, no mat­ter for what use, is best cut when the sap is least so “Now!”, in win­ter, is the an­swer to the last part of your ques­tion. As to what makes the best bean­poles, it ob­vi­ously all de­pends on what’s avail­able but if you live in a re­gion where hazel flour­ishes there’s no doubt that it’s the most suit­able. Fail­ing that, any type that grows tall and rea­son­ably slen­der (ash saplings, for in­stance) will suf­fice.

Stored over win­ter, hazel will last five or six years in the veg­etable gar­den and its slightly rough bark makes it eas­ier for the run­ner bean ten­drils to take a grip (hav­ing said that, they are quite tena­cious and will curl around al­most any­thing).

Ide­ally, you should cut bean sticks with a sharp bill-hook and to a length of about 2.4m (8ft). They should be about 3-4cm (1½in) at the base and will nat­u­rally ta­per to­wards the top. The tops might curve a bit but that some­times helps in cre­at­ing a ‘wig-wam’ or arch­way over which your run­ner beans can climb.

Out of in­ter­est, should you be an FPN reader liv­ing in the UK, you might like to know that there’s an an­nual Na­tional Bean­pole Week (yes, re­ally!) that has been run­ning for over a decade. To find out more, take a look at bean­poles.org.uk

As thin as a bean­pole!

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