Planting French bean seeds is key for every vegetable garden because they are easy to grow, love hot weather, and are amazingly productive. They come in two types—climbing French and dwarf French—and they are usually known as green beans.
French bean seeds are a great alternative for runner beans, especially if you don’t have the necessary room to grow runners, because French beans are often more reliable.
They generally don’t have the problem of poor flowering and not setting pods. But they are susceptible to cold weather and frost (which is not a problem in Malaysia), and they need to grow fast and without checks to get the best results.
How to Grow French Beans
Sowing and Planting French Beans
French beans prefer warm, sunny locations, but they still grow in light shade. They also need shelter and rich-nutrient soil. Make sure to plant the seeds in well-rotted organic matter because they don’t grow well in too much clay.
Climbing French bean seeds will crop repeatedly, but dwarf French bean plants crop just for a few weeks, so it is an excellent idea to do additional sowing later.
If you want, you can sow indoors using small pots, and after hardening off the young plants, you can grow them outside. You can also sow them directly outdoors, but make sure to add some protection at night. You can sow into pots or the ground.
Sow French bean seeds 2.5 centimetres deep and five centimetres apart in rows 45 centimetres apart. If you are sowing pole beans, construct tepees before planting to prevent damage to the plants’ roots. Grow pole French bean seeds about 2.5 centimetres deep and 7.6 centimetres apart.
To construct tepees, tie three or four two-metre-long bamboo poles in a circle, and then plant three or four seeds around each pole. If you need more stability, you can wrap a string around the poles in the middle to encircle the tepee.
Sow French bean seeds every 14 days. Make sure to be there to harvest because beans do not wait for anyone.
It is an excellent idea to do crop rotation to prevent pests and diseases.
Taking Care of French Beans
- Water frequently: Make sure to water at least five centimetres per week. A lack of water will stop the plants from flowering. Avoid leaving the foliage soaked because it encourages disease.
- Fertilise: You can begin fertilising after a massive bloom. Do not use high-nitrogen fertiliser, because you will get lots of foliage but few beans. It is better to use compost halfway through the growing season.
- Soil: Mulch soil to retain moisture around the bean plants. Always ensure it is well-drained. Mulch helps the roots remain cool.
- Weed: It is essential to weed thoroughly but not disturb the root system of the French beans.
- Cover young plants: During high heat, it is an excellent idea to use row covers over young plants. Keep in mind that hot weather can encourage flowers to drop from plants.
- Pinch off the tops of pole French bean vines: Pinching will force them to use energy to produce more pods.
Harvesting French Beans
One of the primary benefits of growing French bean seeds is that harvesting is an ongoing task. The more you pick, the more beans the plants will produce.
As soon as the beans form, you can begin to harvest. Usually, professional gardeners wait until the beans begin to firm up and ready to be snapped. It is critical to harvest french beans before you can see the seeds inside.
Bush french beans are often ready to pick in 50 to 55 days. Pole french beans can take 55 to 65 days. It is vital not to wait too long as beans will quickly overgrow—harvest them by carefully pulling each french bean from the vine or snapping them at the vine end.
Keep in mind that even though pole beans need more time to start growing beans, they often keep producing later than bush beans. You can expect to continue harvesting for one or two months more.
The Bottom Line
Some of us might think beans are something of little value, but believe us, a vegetable garden full of french beans is completely worth it. French beans are rich sources of vitamins (A, C, and K), folic acid and fiber. So, follow the steps above, and soon you will be enjoying this fantastic plant!