How to Sow French Beans - Directly Outside
French Beans are sub-tropical in origin, and for this reason
need a minimum soil temperature of 16�C (60�F)
in the UK. If unprotected,
French Beans are in all cases damaged by even one degree of
frost. Where the seedlings have appeared above the soil surface
and a late unexpected frost strikes, it is best to remove them and sow more seeds in their place.
French Bean variety
(available from Dobbies)
a trowel, dig out drills 5cm (2in) deep and 30cm (1ft) apart -
where more than two rows are being planted, allow sufficient
space between every second row to allow you cultivate and
harvest them - 1m (3ft) should be enough.
French Beans have a germination rate of approximately 75% and for this reason should
be sown thinly, one seed every 15cm (6in), to be thinned out to
a final spacing of one seedling every 30cm (1ft) about 3 weeks
after sowing. To be doubly sure, sow several seeds at the end of
the row for filling in any spaces where the seed has failed to
come up in the row. After sowing, water the bed well if conditions are at all dry.
Do not soak the seeds prior to sowing in attempt to encourage
germination. Soaking the beans will encourage Halo Blight (see
section on pests and diseases later on). Examine the beans
as you sow them, and reject any which are wrinkled, disfigured or have yellow spots on them.
How to Sow French Beans - with Frost
Cloches or poly-tunnels will protect them if a late frost is
predicted, as will plastic bottles with the bottom cut off
placed over the seedlings. Sowing under cloches outside can
early April. Click
here for full details of cloche protection.
to buy your poly-tunnel, cloche or fleece from GardenAction's
alternative is to sow the seeds in peat
) and initially grow them on the windowsill until all
danger of frost has passed and then plant them, peat pots and
all, directly into the ground. Remember to soak the peat
pots in water prior to planting so that they will quickly break down in the soil.