Sowing, growing and harvesting French beans (Blue Lake)

Watch our animated guides to to sowing, growing and harvesting your beans.

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Indoors from end of April, outdoors Mid-may to June - Sow, sow, sow

Indoors: Sow each seed into a small pot of multipurpose compost, water and allow to drain. Germinate indoors on a warm windowsill.
Outdoors: Sow two seeds straight into the ground in rows, leaving 25cm between each pair. Space your rows 40-60cm apart. Don't sow if the soil is cold and wet - hang on until it warms up.

May to June - Grow, grow, grow

Your plants will need support to grow. Erect a structure using bamboo canes, netting or trellis (about 1.8m high). Indoor seedlings should be ready to plant out after three or four weeks, but make sure all threat of frost has gone. First harden them off by placing them outside during the day and bringing them in at night for at least a week.

Dig In and plant two seedlings together into:

  • - well-dug soil, mixed with manure or compost. Place every 25cm, in rows spaced 40-60cm
  • - a growing bag
  • - a large patio pot (four plants in a 45cm pot).

As your plants get bigger they'll need lots of water, so give them a good soaking in dry weather.

July to September - Grub's up

With luck, you'll be able to start picking beans in July. Make sure you pick the ripe ones every week to keep them cropping.

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