How to Grow Dwarf French Beans
How to Grow Dwarf French Beans
Dwarf French Beans – Phaseolus vulgaris
Although usually referred to asthere is little evidence that they originated in France, in fact they appear to have come from South America reaching Britain by way of the Continent. They are sometimes known as kidney beans because of the shape of the seeds of most varieties.
The seeds can be eaten in the pod either green or dried. In the United States they are referred to as snap or shell beans depending on whether the complete pods are eaten as is more usual or the seeds.
French beans grow on most reasonably warm and well drained soils. Early brassicas, including Brussels Sprouts for which the ground has been well enriched. Bone meal or fish manure at 3oz to the square metre provides phosphates while lime should not be lacking.preparation is advisable, working in well rotted manure or . These beans make a good follow-on crop for
In warm districts, sow the seed in spring waiting until danger of frost has passed. Make the drills 5cm deep, 10cm wide and 75cm apart, and sow double staggered rows spacing the seed 13cm to 15cm apart. Allow for possible failures by sowing extra seeds at the end of each row. Avoid gluts by sowing small quantities at two or three weekly intervals until mid-summer. Very early pickings can be had by sowing under cloches or frames from spring onwards remaining covered until very early summer. Glass can also be used in autumn for covering a summer sowing.
The use of fine soil will give a more even germination withoutbeing deformed or broken from having to force their way through lumpy soil. Cover the seeds well, or birds will take them from the soil if they can find them. Keep down and when hoeing draw the soil towards the plants.
Short bushy sticks placed at intervals along the rows will keep the plants upright and prevent the beans from trailing on the ground where they become soiled and a prey to slugs.
Pick the beans before they grow old and stringy. This not only ensures good, tender pods, but encourages the plants to keep on cropping. Under good cultivation, one may reckon that a double row will produce about four pounds of pods to the metre run of row.
An early crop can be produced by sowing in pots. A temperature of 15°C is needed and 20 to 25cm in pots are suitable. After crocking them well, half fill with John Innes Potting Compost No. 2 and sow about eight seeds to each pot. If all grow, reduce the number to the strongest six. Water carefully and once the plants have grown above the rims of the pot add more soil.
Support the plants with twiggy sticks and on bright days, give a thorough syringing. This will keep red spider away. When the pods have set feed the plants with liquid manure at ten day intervals.
Good varieties include: The Prince which is almost stringless; Flair, an extra early variety with roundish oval pods up to 13cm long; Processor, excellent flavour; Pencil Pod Black Wax or Golden Butter bean bears medium sized pods, as does Tender Green. Two very new promising varieties are Glamis and Glenlyon. In the USA some excellent varieties include Kentucky Wonder, Romano and McCaslan.
These are dwarf French beans specially grown for their dried seed and not for pods. Sowing and culture is the same as for French beans, but the pods are left on the plants until they have ripened and turned yellow.
They can be gathered individually as they reach this stage but it is easier to pull up the complete plants and hang them in bunches or in a sack in any airy place, to allow them to become really dry.
Once the pods are brittle the beans can be shelled or where large quantities are concerned, the pods can be carefully beaten with a stick which will knock out the seeds. Then spread them on paper or sacking in a cool greenhouse or other airy place to complete drying, when the seed should be really hard and free from mildew. The seeds must be quite dry before being stored in jars, tins or sacks, otherwise the beans will become mildewed and taste musty.
Varieties: include Brown Dutch, a well known vigorous growing sort with yellowish-brown seeds. Comtesse de Chambord, strong growing variety, smallish white round seeds; Harvester, and Mexican Black.
The plants grow about 45cm high, the foliage being a fresh olive-green. They flourish in light rich soil, full sun being essential, or they can be sown in pots in spring and be planted out when frosts have passed. Sow early, thinning the seedlings to 30cm apart.
The pods can be eaten green when they are about 8cm long and before the seeds are fully formed. The seeds are easily digestible and have considerable food value being rich in protein and high in vitamin content with an excellent flavour.
Fiskeby V. Original, is a bean related to the Soya bean. The seed is sown in warmth in early spring the crop being available in late summer.