Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow under glass
Sow outside
Harvest
Showing schedule for Southern England in United Kingdom

Soil facts and preparation

Quick facts..

  • Soil Type
  • Ideal Ph range 6.0 to 7.0
  • Site Full Sun
French beans are not particularly fussy about soil as long as it is not acid. Dig lime into your chosen spot for beans several months before sowing if your soil is acid.

Try to pick a sunny site where you haven't grown any type of bean in the last year or two.

Only average fertility is required but you can give your beans the best chances by digging in well rotted manure or compost. As well as boosting the fertility of the soil, this will aid moisture retention. An even level of moisture in the soil is required for healthy long straight beans.

Sowing and planting

Quick facts..

  • Germination 7 to 14 days
  • Sow 50mm deep
  • Sow Spacing 100mm
  • Rows 400mm apart
Beans will not germinate in cold soil and cannot tolerate frost. Sow under poly tunnels or cloches for an earlier crop.

Beans do not like to be transplanted so do not sow inside or in a green house. Direct sow 5cm deep and 10cm in rows with a minimum distance of 40cm between them.

Make successive sowings for a regular supply.

Growing a bumper crop

Keep free of competition from weeds and soil moist. Water regularly during periods of dry weather, mulching will help retain moisture. Water at the base of the plant trying to avoid wetting the foliage, this will minimize the risk of certain diseases.

Train climbing varieties up poles or trellis. Bush varieties will still require a little support, use twigs or short canes to prop up the plants when the pods begin to grow.

Harvesting the fruits of your labour

Quick facts..

  • Yield 480g per plant
The pods are ready for picking when they are about 10cm long. Pick regularly, not letting the pods mature.

After all pods have been picked, a second smaller crop may be possible if the soil is fertile enough and the plants are healthy. Feed with a liquid (non-nitrogen based) fertilizer for the best chance.

Eat fresh or trim and freeze.

Your comments and photos

Beans, french varieties

Blauhilde

Climbing french bean that produces extremely long purple pods. The well flavoured pods can reach nearly 30cm in length. High yielding as well as good looking. Note the catch - the pods turn green on cooking!

Blue lake

Climbing variety of French bean with white seeds. High yielding medium size green beans. Stringless sweet and tender variety that can withstand short periods of dry weather. Leave to grow to maturity for white haricot beans.

Cobra

Climbing variety with long straight dark green pods Black seeded variety with attractive purple flowers. Very prolific producer, tender and very tasty. This variety will even grow well in relatively poor soil.

Kenyan Safari

Dwarf or bush variety that produces fine stringless beans Fast maturing and very tasty. A good choice of variety to grow in containers, the plant holds the pods well clear of the soil.