I'm new to gardening. I've planted Aquadulce Claudia beans for an early 2018 harvest. Do I expect to see shoots before the spring and do I need to fleece it (I'm in Somerset and we don't get a lot of heavy frosts, mainly occasional ground frost)
Hello and welcome Mike at Frome (lovely part of the country )
Yes, they'll be showing above ground and make slow growth throughout the winter, speeding up as spring arrives. They don't need any protection from frosts ... Claudia are tough as old boots ... I grow them most winters and they've survived being under snow for 9 weeks here in North Norfolk with no ill effects whatsoever.
As they get taller you might need to put up some canes and strings to sort of 'fence them in' to prevent them being bashed around by the wind ... that's all the help they need.
You shouldn't need to fleece them and you should see shoots quite quickly. You may need to give them protection against mice digging them up though. I have to grow mine in pots in the polytunnel, not to keep them warm, just to keep them off the ground.