Beans are easy to grow, easy to cook, delicious, nourishing, and beneficial for us and the planet.

Growing your own beans builds healthy soil in your garden and provides you with a nutrient rich diet. Beans can play a role in reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer; they are good sources of protein, fibre, folate, iron and potassium and they can reduce our carbon footprint and food miles!

Susan Young brings together 10 years of experimenting with multiple varieties of beans (Phaseolus) and takes us on a culinary journey around the world, revealing a range of colourful and historic beans, from the pink ‘Fagiolo di Lamon’ of Italy to the black and white ‘Bosnian Pole’ bean. She explains which varieties are best for eating fresh off the plant (green) and those for drying for later use, which provides harvests for storing all through winter. Beans offer year-round meals, and dried beans can be the star of the show with their diversity of flavours and textures.

Susan shares six ‘must grow’ beans, as well as a multitude of European varieties along with their backgrounds. She includes a basic guide to drying your beans and then how best to cook them.

Learn how to sow, grow and harvest your beans, how to build supports for climbing and bush varieties, and keep your plants and soil healthy.

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Book Details

Published: February 2022

ISBN: 978 1 85623 218 0

Size: 210 x 148mm

Format: Paperback, 160pp. Colour photos throughout.


Susan has been gardening for over 50 years. She currently lives on two acres in the Wye Valley, on the English-Welsh border, where she grows vegetables, experiments and searches out new bean varieties and manages a wildflower meadow. Susan originally trained as a pianist and spent many years as a music educator and university lecturer, with degrees in music, education and biological anthropology. She has written many books and articles about music education.

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