Growing French beans

We've chosen four varieties of beans for the "Grow for Reading Town Meal" campaign. These are:

  • Climbing French bean Cobra from Seed Co-operative
  • Climbing French bean Eva from Garden Organic
  • Dwarf French bean Borlotto from Seed Co-operative
  • Dwarf French bean Saxa from Seed Co-operative

Download the RFGN Guide to Growing French Beans (PDF format)

Climbing French beans

These beans like to grow in a sunny, sheltered space and will need support. They can be grown outside or in a greenhouse. Sow under glass in April and then plant out in May after the last frost, or sow outside 5cm deep in the second half of May and June. Spacing should be 60cm x 30cm and the suggestions is to grow them in double rows 60cm apart and train them up canes or strings, or make a wigwam of canes and put 2 or 3 seeds by each cane. They can be harvested from July to October, and will crop for longer if picked regularly.

Climbing French bean Eva

This is described as early maturing with dark green oval pods which grow up to 26cm long.

Climbing French bean Cobra

This is described as a high yielding, easy to grow climbing French beans with round pods of excellent flavour.

Dwarf French beans

Like the climbing beans, these beans like to grow in a sunny, sheltered space. Sow under glass in April and then plant out in May after the last frost, or sow outside 2cm deep from the beginning of May when the soil has warmed up. Spacing should be 8 - 10cm apart in rows 40 - 60cm apart. They can be harvested from July to October, and will crop for longer if picked regularly.

Dwarf French bean Borlotto

This is described as a vigorous robust plant, with short (10 -12 cm) flat pods which have a green and red marbled colour. Excellent for dry bean production.

Dwarf French bean Saxa

This is described as a fast growing bean. Can be sown early and will stand cool weather conditions at germination time.

Related resources

Grow Your Own Vegetables

Excellent book on growing vegetables with sections on techniques, a directory of vegetables, seasonal guide to jobs, and appendices on veg for the hungry gap, successional sowing and more.

How to create a New Vegetable Garden

Charles Dowding draws on his years of experience, to show how easy it is to start a new vegetable garden. Any plot -- whether a building site, overgrown with weeds or unwanted lawn -- can be turned into a beautiful and productive vegetable area. Charles's no-nonsense and straightforward advice is the perfect starting point for the beginner or experienced gardener. The book takes you step-by-step through: * Planning and early stages * Clearing the ground * Mulch - what, why, how? * Minimizing digging * Sowing and planting across the seasons * Growing in polytunnels and greenhouses It is filled with labour-saving ideas and the techniques that Charles uses to garden so successfully, and is illustrated throughout with photos and tales from Charles's first year in his new vegetable garden.

Organic Gardening The Natural No-Dig Way

A very helpful book about growing fruit and vegetables organically and without digging.

RFGN Guide to Growing Beetroot

The Reading Food Growing Network guide to growing beetroot.

Download: RFGN Guide to Growing Beetroot (PDF format)

RFGN Guide to Growing French Beans

The Reading Food Growing Network guide to growing French beans, both climbing and dwarf.

Download: RFGN Guide to Growing French Beans (PDF format)

RFGN Guide to Growing Onions

The Reading Food Growing Network guide to growing onions.

Download: RFGN Guide to Growing Onions (PDF format)

RFGN Guide to Growing Radishes

The Reading Food Growing Network guide to growing radishes.

Download: RFGN Guide to Growing Radishes (PDF format)

RFGN Guide to Growing Salad Leaves

The Reading Food Growing Network guide to growing salad leaves, including rocket.

Download: RFGN Guide to Growing Salad Leaves (PDF format)

RFGN Guide to Growing Squash

The Reading Food Growing Network guide to growing squash.

Download: RFGN Guide to Growing Squash (PDF format)

Seed sowing techniques

Advice from the Royal Horticultural Society about how to sow seeds