This French Bean may be dwarf but , oh la la – do they taste good!
“Maxi” is an outstanding variety producing high yields of 15cm (6in) long, slender, straight, round pods that are stringless and full of flavour. Tender enough to eat raw, they have a good shelf-life, but also freeze well.
Whether you know them as French, waxpod, string, snap, haricot, flageolet or green beans, a summer vegetable garden is seldom complete without them. The short bushy plants produce heavy crops of delicious, slim, fleshy beans. Resistant to anthracnose, halo blight and mosaic virus. Maturing time 12 weeks from sowing.
Dwarf French Beans are very easy to grow and give superb yields for a small amount of space, outlay and effort. Like their climbing cousins, they are also self fertile, making them ideal for growing under cover early or late in the season.
Only growing to about 45 cm (18in) they do not get blown over by wind and should not need staking, but you may wish to put a few sticks by their side for support if it is very windy.
To enjoy at their best, pick when young and tender and cook the pods whole. If pods are left to mature on the plant they can be dried and shelled as haricot beans for winter use. Dwarf French beans rarely need stringing like runner beans so they are easier quicker too prepare.
You can usually be eating dwarf French beans twelve weeks after sowing the seeds.
Pick the beans young they are tastier also it will encourage new beans to grow. Baby French beans are tender and sweet and taste wonderful stir-fried with just a dash of salt and sliced garlic.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
French Bean 'Maxi' has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Where to grow:
Beans prefer to grow in moist, fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered spot away from strong winds. Prepare the soil for planting by digging over and adding plenty of organic material, this will help to improve the soil's moisture-retaining ability and fertility.
Beans can also be grown in pots. Choose pots at least 45cm (18in) in diameter and make sure there are plenty of drainage holes. Fill with a mixture of equal parts loam-based compost and loam-free compost.
If you wish to train the plant vertically, create a support before planting. Either make a wigwam with canes, lashed together with string at the top, or create a parallel row of canes, which have their tops tightly secured to a horizontal cane. Add to the ornamental appeal of wigwams by planting a few fragrant sweetpeas alongside them. These will twine together as they climb, attracting pollinating insects to the beans, and providing flowers to pick at the same time as the crop
Sowing: Sow indoors late April and May, outdoors in late May to June.
Even when temperatures are not below freezing, cold air can damage bean plants, so don't plant too early. Plant outdoors only after the last frosts, May onwards
Sowing seeds early indoors gives a faster and more reliable germination rate. Beans sown directly outside often germinate poorly or get attacked by slugs.
Avoid problems by sowing seeds in late April and May in pots or root trainers in the greenhouse. Robust young plants will be ready to plant outside within about 5 weeks, growing away far quicker than outdoor sowings.
Sow a single bean seed, 4cm (1.5in) deep, in root trainers or into a 7.5cm (3in) pot filled with multipurpose compost. Water well, label and place on a sunny windowsill to germinate. Seedlings will be ready to plant out after about three weeks. Before planting, put in a cold frame to acclimatise.
Alternatively, beans can be sown directly in the soil between the second half of May and the middle of June. Plant two seeds next to your support about 5cm (2in) deep. Water well. After germination remove the smaller and less robust of the two young plants. As they grow, ensure the plants continue to twine around their canes.
Cultivation: Late June to October
Having shallow roots regular and plentiful watering is vital. Beans should be watered particularly heavily, twice a week in dry weather, both when the flower buds appear and once they're open. Mulch when conditions are dry.
Don’t hoe around bean plants too deeply or you may damage the roots.
Beans capture nitrogen from the air, so make sure the soil contains the other essential ingredients, phosphorus and potassium. So for the fertilizer use something like 10-20-10. They leave the soil nitrogen-enriched even after harvest
Ready to pick in 65 to 70 days. The more you pick, the more they produce. Most should bear pods from late July and cropping of all types can continue until the first frosts, or longer if plants are protected.
French Beans are self-fertile and grow a good crop of beans even from a single plant. This variety is open-pollinated which means saved bean seeds will grow true to type when planted in subsequent years. Different varieties of French Beans can cross-pollinate each other so keep them well apart if you want to produce beans of exactly the same variety. Beans of this variety will keep for three years when stored in cool, dark and dry conditions.
The French bean is a must for anyone growing their own vegetables. For a start it’s very easy to grow, and secondly its packed with goodness, particularly protein and vitamins A and C.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25 grams Average Seed Count 65 Seeds Seed Form Natural Common Name French Bean, Dwarf French Bean Family Leguminosae Genus Phaseolus Species vulgaris Cultivar Maxi Hardiness Hardy Annual Position Sunny position Aspect In a sheltered spot away from strong winds. Soil Moist, fertile soil Time to Sow Sow indoors late April and May, outdoors in late May to June. Harvest 12 weeks from sowing. Time to Harvest Most bear pods from late July to first frosts.