Growing Dwarf French Beans
When deciding to start growing French beans then you to have to decide: growing climbing French beans or start growing dwarf French beans. The only difference is one climbs and the other one doesn’t.
French Beans are also known as flageolets or haricot beans – but these names refer to the French bean when they have been left to mature on the plant.
Growing Dwarf French Beans – Site and Soil
Growing dwarf French beans is easy to grow and this is one the reasons that many vegetable gardeners grow them in their vegetable plot.
French beans prefer to grow in a sheltered position in the full sun. They also like to be protected from winds. French beans will grow in any type of soil though they prefer a soil rich in organic material, so dig the soil well and dig in well-rotted manure or compost to enrich the soil. It takes around 12 weeks from start to picking
Growing Dwarf French Beans – When to Sow
French Beans are easily killed by frosts. So you need to sow from early to Mid May onwards. You can sow them in succession until the beginning of July. You can either direct sow the French beans or sow them in individual pots indoors and plant them out – when starting french beens indoors sow them from the start of April.
Most gardeners opt to sow the French beans direct into the soil. To direct sow French Beans the soil needs to be a minimum of 16°C for them to germinate. You can direct sow from early to mid May – you can sow earlier but the plants will need some sort of protection from the cold or frosty weather – place a cloche or fleece over the seeds.
The main benefit of starting the French bean seed indoors is that the plants are well established and already advanced before planting them out, which means you can get your crop of French beans earlier.
To sow indoors fill an individual seed tray with compost, firm it down and water. Take a dipper and make a small hole into the wet compost place 1 or 2 seeds into the compost and cover. Keep in a cold-frame, greenhouse or on your windowsill. They will germinate within 7 to 10 days. Sow in Early to late April to plant out for May. When the plants are about 2 to 3” tall you can start hardening off the plants.
Planting out the French Beans
Using a small hand trowel, dig a small hole and place a French bean plant into the hole and fill and firm the soil around the plant. Place them about 3 to 4″ apart and around 12 to 18” between rows.
Growing Dwarf French Bean – After Care
Dwarf French Beans do not really require any support though the weight of the pods can drag the plant to the ground; this in turn attracts snails and slugs.
If you feel you dwarf French bean needs support put some kind of twigs next to the plant to support and tie it on.
French beans are an easy vegetable crop to grow. Keep the weeds down and water them regularly when the weather is dry. You can mulch between the plants to help retain moisture in the soil.
Feed the French Beans with either some chicken pellets or water them with a bio feed every couple of weeks to encourage cropping.
French Bean Care – Harvest
Pick the French beans when they are young and tender, if you allow them to grow to big they will become tough and stringy beans.
To get the most from your crop of dwarf French beans pick the beans frequently to encourage new beans to grow.
French Beans Pest & Disease
Halo Blight – are brownish spots on the leaves that are surrounded by a lightish colour described by people as a ‘halo’. Plants are stunted and yields are affected by this.
Treatment – It’s best to lift and destroy the plants.
Slugs – unfortunately slugs like every part of the French Beans. Dwarf French bean pods are often affected by slugs as the pods hang on to the soil so they are an easy target.
Treatment – you can go out at dusk and pick up the slugs or use a beer trap or slug pellets.
Blackfly – like broad beans French beans can also be affected by blackfly which will stunt the plants growth.
Treatment – you can plant marigolds as these encourage beneficial insects like ladybirds and hoverflies – and these insects eat blackfly. Or you can spray your plants with soapy water or buy a spray from you local garden centre that kills blackfly.
Click her to read my top 12 favourite french bean varieties.
I hope from this article you’ll start growing dwarf french beans.