By Megan Slack
There’s a lot to love about the humble French bean. These versatile veggies are not only tasty, but they’re incredibly easy to grow – however, Monty Don has just made the sowing process even easier.
See: Kitchen garden ideas – easy ways to get started
It appears that, like us, the beloved gardener is equally partial to tasty French beans, and so, we were delighted to hear his tips on growing hearty beans that will wow guests this dinner party season. However, since May is the official French bean growing month, Monty urges us to act this week – and it won’t be long until you can cook up your own delicious crop too.
Monty Don’s French bean growing tips
Monty’s monthly blog is full of garden tips and tricks – in his recent post, he explained everything you need to know.
Monty begins by reminding us that now is the best time to sow, as the soil has already started to warm up. Though, before planting, he urges us to double-check the ground temperature by touching it with our skin. That is the only way we can ‘safely sow a batch of French beans, both dwarf and climbing,’ Monty shares.
Why is checking the ground temperature so important? According to Monty, French beans are ‘tender plants that will be knocked right back by a touch of frost and will survive but not grow if the temperature drops below about 10ºC.’
If this happens, the failed crop will attract snails and slugs. ‘By the time they have germinated, we will be clear of those cold temperatures in most areas, and the young plants can grow strongly,’ he adds.
See: Small vegetable garden ideas – from layout designs to the best crops to grow
Monty Don's dwarf bean growing tip
Monty then explains how to sow two common types of French Beans: dwarf beans and climbing beans.
After checking the ground climate, Monty recommends sowing dwarf beans in ‘rows in well-manured soil with each bean spaced six inches apart and the rows 12-18 inches apart.’
Monty Don's climbing bean growing tip
Alternatively, for climbing beans, Monty suggests ‘sowing two seeds at the base of each support’ before removing the weaker seed, ‘once one is established and growing strongly.’
Though, whether you grow a dwarf bean or a climbing bean, Monty reminds us to water the seeds regularly throughout the season – leaving us with nothing but a healthy and tasty crop.
Our gardens, and our kitchens, thank you, Monty.
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