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European year of the bean

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Runner bean Aurora
Runner bean Aurora. Picture; Mr Fothergill's

Six new varieties from Mr Fothergill’s

There’s a veritable beanfeast of new varieties in Mr Fothergill’s 2017 seed catalogue to celebrate the European Year of the Bean. The initiative hopes to encourage gardeners to grow more beans next year.

Exclusive new runner bean Aurora is pink flowered and produces self-setting pods. It is British-bred and produces an abundant crop of usually stringless, succulent pods whether conditions are cool or hot and dry in our unpredictable summers. A packet of 45 seeds costs £3.35.

Organic broad bean Eleonora has five up to five juicy, tasty beans per pod. Fast growing and not too tall, Eleonora is a good choice for windy sites. A packet of 45 seeds costs £3.35.

Reintroduced dwarf bean Coco Noir Starazagorski can be eaten young as sliced green beans or left to mature and the black beans shelled as haricots. Ten seeds cost £3.35.

Exclusive runner bean Guinness Record bears exhibition-quality long, smooth, tasty, slender pods up to 45cm (18in) from July to October. The vigorous, red-flowered plants are resistant to all bean viruses. A packet of 45 seeds costs £3.25.

Runner bean Snowdrift is a white-flowered variety, less prone to bird attack than scarlet-flowered ones. Pods set reliably in cold or hot and dry conditions, helping to ensure a good harvest. A packet of 40 seeds of Snowdrift costs £3.25.

Also exclusively from Mr Fothergill’s is pencil-podded climbing bean Python. Its uniform, succulent pods, up to 15cm (6in) long, are produced abundantly through a long summer cropping season and into autumn. A packet of 50 seeds costs £3.25.

For more information, visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, telephone 0845 371 0518 or write to Mr Fothergill’s, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Suffolk CB8 7QB.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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