They are the ideal vegetables - delicious to eat, ornamental and floriferous. Start sowing dwarf or climbing varieties indoors in April and they should be cropping throughout the summer.

They are best started off indoors, in two seeds per pot at 5cm (2in) deep, then planted out once they are around 8cm (3in) tall, but you must wait until the last frost has passed as they are extremely susceptible to frost. Plant them in their final places in early June and support them on bamboo cane wigwams or double rows of canes.

Make later sowings directly into the ground in June so you have crops through to October. Train the climbing beans up trellises, over arches or along fences to make the most of their beautiful white or lilac flowers.

Good varieties include the dwarf Purple Teepee, which turns green on cooking, and 'Blue Lake', a climbing type.