French Beans Seeds
French beans are delicious and easy to grow. They make great finger food for children, and come in a range of attractive colours – as well as the usual green, you can grow cream, yellow and purple French beans.
French beans are tender plants that don’t like frost or cold temperatures. They’re available as climbing or dwarf plants. Climbing French beans will crop continually into September, while dwarf types are quick to grow but crop only for a few weeks, so you may want to make an additional later sowing.
For an early crop, sow indoors in late April to early May. Use small pots, sowing one bean in each, 5cm (2in) deep. Place in a propagator or on a warm, sunny windowsill to germinate. They will grow fast in warm, bright conditions and need watering regularly.
In late May or early June, harden off the young plants to acclimatise them to outdoor conditions. Then plant into their final site after all risk of frost has passed.
French beans need a warm, sunny spot in fertile, well-drained soil.
If temperatures are warm in May, you can sow outdoors, but seedlings may need some protection (such as fleece) at night.
Sow into pots or directly into the ground in a sunny spot. Fork in plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost before sowing.
When sowing in pots, insert one bean into the centre of each small pot, 5cm (2in) deep. Place in a coldframe or other sheltered, warm place.
Once plants reach 8cm (3in) tall, move them to their final positions after the last frost in late May/early June.
More sowings of dwarf beans can be made directly into the ground in June and July, for harvests in early autumn.