How to grow French beans

Monty Don outlines the 'biggest mistake' with French Beans

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There are different varieties of French beans which you can grow in your own garden. Dwarf French beans can grow to about 18 inches tall and include varieties such as ‘Boston’, ‘Sprite’ and ‘Purple Teepee’. Climbing French beans need support to grow and include varieties like ‘Cobra’, ‘Algarve’ and ‘Golden Gate’.

When do you sow French beans?

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), French beans can be sown in late April or early May in an indoor setting.

These seedlings will then need to be hardened off in late May or early June before being planted outside.

Warm temperatures in May might allow for French beans to be sown outdoors, but the seedlings may need protection at night.

French beans should be planted in a sunny spot of the garden.

But make sure there is a lot of well-rotted manure or garden compost in the site before sowing French bean seeds.

The RHS add: “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.”

How do you grow French beans?

Miracle-Gro’s Gardening Guru, Kate Turner, has set out five easy steps below for growing your own French beans.

1) Sowing

Ms Turner said: “Sow seeds individually in 7.5 – 10cm pots of seed sowing compost, such as Levington Multi Purpose Compost.”

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2) Preparations

Ms Turner added: “Choose an open sunny site with some shelter.

“Beans are hungry plants so if you can, add good organic matter to the bed or really good multi-purpose compost before planting out and remove any large lumps and stones from the area.

“If planting in a container use the largest you can and make sure you use fresh good quality compost.”

3) Support

Ms Turner said: “Support your French beans, especially the climbing varieties with a wigwam of canes for a successful growth – ideally with 20cm between each cane.”

4) Feeding

Ms Turner added: “Apply a liquid feed, such as Miracle-Gro Purpose Concentrated liquid plant food, to the foliage and around the roots every couple of weeks and don’t allow them to dry out.”

5) Harvesting

According to Ms Turner: “Pick the beans regularly when they are around 10 – 15cm long to enjoy the best flavour and ensure continuous cropping.

“They are ready when they snap easily and before the beans can be seen through the pod.

“The more you pick, the more they will fruit.”

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