One of the most popular European legumes is the Dwarf French bean. While this very small bean is a close relative to the cowpea, its seed is almost the same size as a golf ball. French beans are an expensive type of bean to grow and harvest, but it also offers a large number of health benefits for you and your family. Growing your own French beans is simple with these few tips.
First, look carefully at the texture of your seed. If the seed appears to be a dark greyish brown, then it probably is dry. Medium rare dwarf french beans look a little bit different, but tend to be a bit crunchier than regular beans. The smaller stringless pod-like seeds around the diameter of a golf ball are regarded as medium rare. However, they can still be eaten and enjoyed by all of your family.
Harvesting your dwarf french beans is a breeze. They have tiny nubs at their bases that make them easy to snap off for consumption. Harvesting is best done when the bean is still slightly wet. This allows the bean's natural enzymes to work at full force so that you get the most out of your harvest. If you want to speed up harvesting, soak the bean overnight and just leave it in the pot the next day.
Grow your dwarf bean seeds just like you would your regular bean. Only difference is the way you harvest. Take your seedling plant and pinch off the tiny nubs at its base. Place the seedlings in a row on a tall piece of wooden or metal frame. There are two kinds of frame options--the traditional free-standing unit or a more portable model with a hanging basket or hanging rod. Some gardeners like the look and feel of free-standing units but find the portable varieties much easier to manage.
For your first harvest, just continue with the growing process of your regular French beans, harvesting and keeping them at about one inch per week. Keep in mind, though, that these tiny Frenchies will eventually turn into actual black dwarf Frenchies--so it's important to watch closely and make sure you get the correct amount of seeds and pods. Harvest about one inch at a time and move the plants around to see which areas seem to have the fewest pods. Move them to the next row and repeat the process.
After the second harvest, move your plants to a large, well drained soil and lay a blanket of soil fertilizer over them. Keep your seed beads in separate containers so they don't end up fighting with each other. Once the third harvest comes, move the plants back into their containers. When you re-pot your dwarf French bean collection, select the best remaining seed beads and place them in the proper order, following the pattern of your original seed collection. The final step is to repot your French bean crops and then continue enjoying your tasty little French treats.
Many gardeners find the key to a successful French bean planting is knowing how much space is actually needed for production. With a little research, you'll discover that this is actually quite simple to figure out. First determine the average size of your garden plot, then subtract nine inches for the soil width and one inch for the height. Subtracting these two factors from the diagonal dimension of your plot will give you the exact amount of room that French beans require. The final step is to purchase and plant your dwarf French beans seeds, following the same steps that you followed for regular french beans.
When you've got your seed collection ready for planting, be sure to plant it in a healthy environment. Make sure the soil is well-drained, that it drains enough so that excess water is draining away and that the pH level of your soil is around 5.5. Most importantly of all, be sure to plant your dwarf french bean seeds in full sun.