How To Grow French Beans
How To Grow French Beans
French beans taste much like runner beans and are just as easy to grow, they tend to come in dwarf varieties, and this means that they are also well suited to growing in containers, as you only need to use very small garden canes. Indeed four foot canes will be adequate, with 6ft ones being more than ample.
They are ideal in that as they do not grow too tall French beans are a good choice for people who have limited mobility.
You can either sow French beans straight into the ground as you would do with runner beans, or you can sow your French beans indoors in to seed trays. If you choose to germinate French beans indoors then they should begin to appear through within 7 to 14 days depending on the temperature.
I would recommend planting in March inside, or April outside. However I live in the Southern United Kingdom, and you may want to add a month on to these dates if you are in the Midlands or the North, to avoid late frosts.
Planting at these times should, with a bit of Sun, see your first crop of French beans arriving as early as June. If you grow them as seedlings inside then you will need to harden up the French bean seedlings before planting them out. You do this by placing them outside during the day and bringing them in at night, gradually leaving them outside for more time each day.
Like runner beans French beans should only be planted out after the danger of frost has passed. That said they are a hardy plant, more so than runner beans, and will survive a short drop in temperature. In addition French beans are also more drought.
They can be planted in a container, or ideally in a raised bed. If you plant them in a raised bed then the crop will benefit greatly from the addition of well rotted manure to the soil prior to planting out the French beans.
There is a school of thought that says you do not need canes to support them, but I would strongly recommend you set canes out for your French beans to grow up.
French beans should be picked when they are five to six inches long for the best tasting beans. They can be frozen just like runner beans, and that is why I like French beans so much, as they keep us fed throughout the Winter. French beans take up very little space, easy to grow and are well worth a try. One of our great recipes to try is French Green Beans Wrapped in Bacon. If you are having problems growing them see French Bean Pests And Diseases
Or why not try Growing Runner Beans or Broad Beans instead?