Better French bean harvests
Amateur Gardening|May 15, 2021
Better French bean harvests
Q We love French beans, but we are fed up with the pencil-thin types available to buy. We tried growing them in the garden, but only managed to produce a few servings. How can we harvest plenty, with some to freeze? Sam Duncan, Leeds

A There is nothing wrong with the narrow or ‘Kenya’ type green beans widely sold in supermarkets (try ‘Safari’ or ‘Ferrari’), but there are many others that have flat or cylindrical pods of yellow, purple or cream with maroon flecks.

For an abundance you will need bed space, so perhaps you need to edit out other crops. Good potatoes, carrots, swedes and courgettes are more easily bought, and extra room will give you the opportunity to experiment with both dwarf and climbing bean varieties.

French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) originated in South America, with carbon-dating evidence suggesting they may have been cultivated in Peru and Mexico 5,000 years ago. They enjoy warmth, and won’t germinate or grow well until soil temperatures reach 50°F (10°C).

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