Plentiful summer-long pickings
You will need
6 climbing French bean plants ‘Cosse Violette’, grown from seed Perpetual spinach seeds Multi-purpose peat-free compost 6 hazel sticks 1-1.5m long Large plastic pot approx 50cm wide x 45cm high Liquid seaweed feed
Climbing French beans and perpetual spinach are a safer bet in pots than runner beans and normal spinach, as they’re more tolerant of drying out. They still need regular and generous watering though, especially when the beans are forming. Place your large pot in a warm, sheltered spot, fill with compost, then sow the spinach seeds 4cm apart. In separate small pots, sow 12 climbing French bean seeds, then place on a sunny indoor windowsill or in a greenhouse to grow. When the bean plants are 15cm tall, push six sticks around the edge of the large pot and tie at the top to make a wigwam. Remove the young bean plants from their pots and plant the strongest six at the base of the sticks. Thin out the spinach seedlings to 8cm apart. Water regularly and feed fortnightly with liquid seaweed.
For the tastiest, most tender beans, pick the pods before the seeds inside start to bulge. Keep picking leaves from the spinach and the plants will crop for months.
Purple-podded climbing French beans, for extra colour Perpetual spinach or spinach beet
Harvest the beans regularly to encourage more to form