This bean is a half hardy annual that likes warm conditions and will not tolerate frost. French beans will grow successfully in most soils, with the exception of heavy clays, but avoid growing beans in the same spot as the previous year. Choose a location that is reasonably sunny and sheltered from high winds. In the autumn dig over the bed to a medium tilth and add compost or well rotted farm yard manure, adding lime if the soil is acidic. Two weeks prior to sowing rake over the bed and apply a general purpose fertiliser such as Growmore.

Sow your main crop during May, and sow successively up to the end of June to provide beans up to the end of October. You can sow an earlier crop in April if you sow under the protection of cloches placed over the ground in March. Alternatively, a later crop can be sown in July for autumn picking which will require the protection of cloches from mid September.

Sow the seeds in drills 5 cm deep at 10 cm spacing's, allowing 45 cm between rows. Cover with soil and water gently. Your French beans will germinate within 7-14 days. Protect the seedlings from slugs and regularly remove competing weeds. Your beans will require support to prevent them from toppling over so use pea sticks or short twigs for this purpose. Mulch under the plants in June.

Ensure you water well during dry periods or after flowering to achieve maximum pod development and crop production. Feed the plants with a liquid fertiliser once the pods have been harvested to encourage a second crop.

You can harvest your French beans when the pods snap easily when bent, at approximately 10 cm long. Take care not to rock the plant when removing the pods, holding on to the stem or using a knife. Pick regularly to avoid any pods maturing.

You can dry the beans to produce haricot beans by leaving the pods on the plant until they are yellow, and then hang indoors to dry until brittle. Shell the beans and place to dry on a sheet of paper for several days prior to storing in an air tight container.