National Beanpole Week 2020

National Beanpole Week 2020

In these troubling times, there has never been a greater need to make use of our outdoor space and create something positive

Gardeners and coppice workers nationwide are getting ready for National Beanpole Week – despite the pressures coronavirus is imposing on all of us.

The dedicated week, from 11 to 19 April, celebrates and promotes the importance of our ancient coppiced woodlands and encourages gardeners to get behind the campaign and use the humble British Beanpole.

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The campaign, which started in 2009, has attracted support from a host of famous gardeners who are urging people to seek out locally sourced beanpoles.

Writer and broadcaster Monty Don, who is a long-term supporter of the coppice sector, backed the initiative and said: “Every British bean grower should use British beanpoles. Not only do they do the job better than anything else, but they help preserve and nurture British coppice woodland and all the wildlife that depends on it.”

This year’s campaign is focusing on the important role coppice woodlands will play in preventing a climate crisis. Richard Thomason, from the Small Woods Association, said: “The campaign is good fun and has a typical British quirkiness but there is a very serious story behind National Beanpole Week.”

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Importing sticks around the world to grow beans up makes no sense. The carbon use of transport alone makes the practice foolhardy, especially when the UK has ancient coppice woodlands in desperate need of management. The vast majority of carbon, over 70%, which is sequestrated from the atmosphere, is held in the ground.

Coppice woodlands are particularly good at holding on to this carbon stored in the ground as the coppice stools maintain their root system to regrow new shoots. The rapid decline of coppice management in recent years has also led to a worrying decline of the associated woodland species (see notes below).

Photo of Monty Don by Marsha Arnold

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March 2020

Small Woods Association, Green Wood Centre, Station Road, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7DR. www.smallwoods.org.uk

Author and gardening presenter Toby Buckland, gave his support to the campaign, saying: “Whether they’re for sweetpeas, perennials or the veg plot, hazel poles and pea-sticks make the most useful plant supports. But they’re not just easy on the eye or to work with, their use boosts our rural economy and enhances our woodlands for wildlife. And they’ll help make your garden more beautiful too!”

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Horticulturalist Chris Collins, of Garden Organic, said: “Supporting our small woodlands is fundamental to our natural heritage, alongside these precious spaces are traditions and environmental practices that have existed for decades. One of these is the use of bean poles from the ancient practice of coppicing. Let’s celebrate the humble bean pole, supporting our essential edible crops through the ages. There is nothing finer than a climbing bean rambling its way through the rustic beauty of the bean pole – long may they last.”

Gardeners can help by purchasing locally grown beanpoles and creating a demand for coppice restoration.

Beanpole local suppliers can be found by visiting: www.beanpoles.org.uk

Alternatively, visit: www.coppice-products.co.uk

Please note, each supplier will have their own policy regarding how to deliver their services safely during the Covid-19 crisis. Ask your supplier for details.

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Steve Ott
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