Site, Soil and Preparation
French beans prefer a warm, sheltered, rich, well drained soil that has been prepared in advance in autumn with generous amounts of garden compost or manure. They also need a neutral pH soil and will require the addition of lime if the soil is acidic.
French beans can be sown direct outside in warm weather, but are usually started indoors in root trainers or 75mm (3in) pots.
In warm weather sow outdoors from mid-May, with 2 beans together at a depth of 50mm (2in), 100mm (4in) apart with rows 450mm (1 1/2ft) apart.
Transplant indoor sown french beans to their outdoor positions, after hardening off, in late May or early June and plant at the same spacings as given for outdoor sowing.
Provide sticks or netting to support dwarf varieties or rows of 2400mm (8ft) canes for climbing varieties. Pinch out the tops of the plants when they reach the top of the canes. Water plants frequently, especially during hot spells, and more generously when pods start to form.
Harvest the pods whilst still young as soon as they reach 100mm (4in).