The main reason for the switch is that dwarf beans are lower maintenance; there’s no need to build a wigwam to support the plants or to keep tying them in as they grow. And although the plants only grow to around 40cm tall, the yield from each plant is surprisingly high and small children can help with the harvesting. They must be one of the easiest, pest and disease free vegetables to grow (apart from the blackfly earlier in the year but we sent them packing with a dilute spray of washing up liquid).
I picked up the seeds at the Chelsea Flower Show, from Pennard Plants, who specialise in heritage and heirloom seeds. The packet was described as ‘Dazzling Dwarf Mix’ and as well as producing plants with purple, green or yellow beans, there are some dwarf borlotti beans and runner beans too.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you to give them a try, the purple beans have the added bonus of their very own magic trick – they turn green when cooked.