Dwarf French Bean ‘Maxi’ - Seed
Beans need no prior treatment although you could steep them in lukewarm water overnight to encourage germination.Sowing
Seeds germinate in 14 days. Sow some beans every 3 weeks to give more than one harvest per season. There are 2 methods of sowing: 1. Sow directly in the garden, preferably in a sunny spot as soon as all danger of frost has passed, up to and including July. Loosen the soil in the bed with a fork to a depth of at least 30 cm. There should be no fresh manure in the soil and it should not be too cold or wet. Stretch some garden string between two canes at either end of the bed and drag a furrow along the length of the string. Throw five beans in a hole every 40 cm and cover with soil to a depth of 4 or 5 cm. Use the back of the rake to press lightly down and immediately sprinkle with water. Remove the string and use a marker to label the row. Rows should be 40 cm apart. 2. Sprouting seeds are very liable to frost damage. A good tip is to germinate indoors with the advantage that the birds can't get at them either. Sow in pots, March-April and fill the pots with good potting compost, 5 beans to a pot. Cover with a layer of potting compost to a maximum of 3 cm deep. Press lightly down and sprinkle with water. Stand the pots in a sunny place at room temperature. If the seedlings start to get too big before it is possible to plant out, gain some time by storing them in a cool room. Give the sprouts enough room to grow – keep the pots far enough apart that the leaves do not touch. Give each pot its own cane and tie the plants in as they grow. Plant out after all danger of frost has past, 5 plants (one pot) per cane or string, every 40 cm and rows also 40 cm apart.
These green beans are so-called 'stringless' and are generally considered the tastiest. It is actually hard to find any beans with a 'string' these days - most modern varieties are stringless. Haricot Vert are really just green runner beans only much thinner than regular green beans. There are also yellow runner beans available which have a milder flavour compared to green runner beans.Cooking tips
These beans are best eaten freshly picked although you can keep them for several days in the refrigerator. Green beans can be boiled or steamed and are a great accompaniment to potatoes, rice or pasta, but do not cook too long as they taste best when crunchy! Cut the beans into 2 cm pieces and cook them fast in a wok. Green beans can also be frozen, although they do loose a little of their crispiness.
Sprinkle the beans with extra water only during dry periods. Keep the bed free of weeds - the beans will then grow better.Harvesting
Use both hands to harvest – they should be picked carefully, it is too easy to damage the plant if you only use one. Green beans / Haricot Vert should be picked when the beans are just visible on the outside of the pod. It is best is to harvest all the plants at least once a week during the season. Young pods are the most tender and sweet. When all pods have been harvested and the plant has stopped flowering, it's time to dig up the whole plant.