French Bean Cobra
Climbing beans like Cobra require more space than dwarf varieties, but you'll get a longer cropping period and a bigger harvest.
Cobra is the tastiest French bean we've ever trialled.
Time from seed to plate: 12 weeks
French beans can be sown directly in the ground, but they are vulnerable to frost, so we tend to sow them inside in rootrainers. Fill eight rootrainer cells with compost and push two beans into each one. Water well and place on a warm bright windowsill or in a green house. If more than one seedling comes up in any of the cells, pull out and discard the smallest. It seems brutal, but there's only space for one!
If you want to sow directly in the ground push two beans in a couple of inches deep at the bottom of each cane. Discard the weaker one if both come up.
By the end of May, when the frosts are well and truly over, plant out your beans. Make sure your soil has plenty of compost added because this will help retain moisture which beans love.
Grow them up a wigwam of 8 bamboo canes, or if you've got more space, up two parallel rows of canes about 2ft apart sloping inwards and tied to a horizontal bar in between. Plant firmly, at the bottom of a cane, ensuring there's 6-12 inches between plants.
Scatter round some organic slug killer because the stems are vulnerable at this stage.
The beans lower down the plant will mature earlier, so pick these first, and gradually work your way up the plant. Ensure you have a proper rummage through the dense foliage, it's amazing how many beans can be lurking in there, hidden by leaves.
Pick regularly to encourage new beans to form.
When your plants do ultimately finish cropping. cut them down to the ground, but leave the roots in the soil because they add valuable nitrogen to benefit your next crop.