How to Grow French Beans


  • Sowing Instructions (Indoors)
  • How to Transplant
  • Sowing Outdoors
  • Crop Maintenance & How to Support
  • How to Harvest
  • Storage
  • Pests & Diseases

Sowing Instructions (Indoors)

  • Sowing Time: For an early harvest, you can grow your beans indoors in pots. Sow in January
  • Sowing Location: Choose a 9cm pot with drainage holes. Keep under glass in a bright & warm position
  • Sow using a general potting compost & perlite mix at 3:1
  • Water soil well before sowing, and keep pots or trays moist at all times
  • Sow 3 seeds per pot, thin later
  • Sow seeds approx 4cm deep

How to Transplant

  • Transplant outside just after the last frost
  • Usually mid / late April to mid May
  • These plants can be transplanted out in well manured soil
  • Harden off before planting out

Sowing Outdoors

  • French beans prefer a sunny, sheltered site
  • Ensure the weather is suitable and the soil has warmed up prior to sowing
  • Sowing Time: Sow out in mid May
  • Stagger planting times for a continual harvest
  • Sow in drills 15cm apart, sowing seeds 5cm deep
  • Make drills 30cm wide and sow seeds in a zig-zag pattern
  • Leave 20cm between drills
  • Soil: Moist, fertile soil is ideal
  • A light soil is most suitable, if your soil is heavy, it is recommended that you improve your soil's drainage by adding farm yard manure and digging and forking your soil to a depth of 1 and 1/2 feet
  • If possible, prepare soil in the previous autumn
  • Dig over soil and add plenty of organic matter before planting
  • Add about two shovels of farm yard manure to every square metre
  • It is recommended that you perform a soil fertility test at least once
  • Add lime to soil if your tests reveal that your soil is acidic
  • Water well after sowing

Crop Maintenance & How to Support

  • Protect Crop from slugs, especially when young
  • Provide a support frame for your bean crop early in the growing stages
  • You can use a bean & pea netting or create a bamboo wigwam support frame
  • Train plants around support frame
  • Begin feeding plants once flowers emerge
  • Keep moist at all times

How to Harvest

  • Can be ready for harvest from June onwards
  • Varieties such as cobra produce large crops
  • Pick daily and often to prevent from going to seed
  • Pick before you can see the bean shape inside
  • Cropping can continue until the first frosts
  • Cropping can be prolific


  • Will store in the fridge for short term
  • Can be frozen for up to 12 months in freezer bags
  • Freeze on a tray first and then place into bag

Pests & Diseases

  • Pests: Slugs
  • Damage: Eat foliage
  • Use copper slug tape and slug traps for protection
  • Other pests and diseases to look out for are aphids and halo blight