|Min germination temp:||10°C (50°F)|
|Max germination temp:||26°C (79°F)|
French Beans are an easy crop to grow, require little knowledge or expertise and can be grown on small plots. They come in yellow, purple, cream and 'flecked' pod colours. You can also choose from 'dwarf' and 'climbing' varieties. Dwarf Beans are easier to maintain and pick, climbing varieties tend to have a higher yield
|Sow (under glass)|
Pick a sunny, warm location. Using last season's potato patch is a usual practice with crop rotation as the beans will appreciate the manured soil.
French beans are thirsty plants so make sure there is plenty of organic matter dug into the soil to hold moisture. You can also dig in more well-rotted manure.
French beans are tender plants and will be damaged by a frost, so avoid planting outside until May or June. For an earlier crop you can sow in April, but you will need to keep them protected from the frosts. Sow two seeds in a small pot 5cm (2in) deep. Once the beans reach 8cm (3in) tall they can be transplanted to their final positions.
If you you have planted out and a frost is predicted; cover the young plants with fleece or newspaper until the weather is better. Water well during periods of prolonged dry weather and mulch plants in mid-summer to help conserve moisture.
Climbing French Beans will need supports. Provide a good structure from canes for them to grow up. This can be in the form of a 'wigwam', a traditional row of lent-together canes or any other suitable structure on your plot such as a trellis. Check your variety's details to see how high you should expect them to grow. Space the canes 15cm (6in) apart at the ground (leave 45cm (18in) between rows if using a row method). Plant one seed/seedling at the base of each of the canes.
Dwarf beans only grow to 45cm (18in) tall so will not need any supports. It is traditional to grow them in blocks so that any support that is needed is provided by the neighbouring plants
Pods are ready to be picked when they are 10cm (4in) in length or when they snap easily, if you can see the beans through the pods they have over-matured. Pick regularly for a prolonged cropping season. Once all the pods are picked; water well and feed with liquid fertiliser, you may get a second crop of smaller pods.
- Full troubles list: Bean troubles
French bean varieties
|Climbing varieties||Blauhilde · Borlotto lingua di fuoco|
|Dwarf varieties||Fin de Bagnols|