Blue Lake beans have a dark green cylindrical, stringless and plump pod. The pod contains tiny pale green to white edible seeds. The bean's flavour is distinctively mild, sweet, with a crisp-tender texture.
Blue Lake beans produce an abundant crop of pods that can reach 15-18cm in length from a plant which grows 1.5-1.7m in height. This heritage bean variety, with crisp white flowers, will look beautiful grown in a pot or container on a sunny sheltered spot on your patio.
|When to Sow||Sow indoors late April and May, outdoors in late May to July.|
|Where to Sow||Sow indoors in compost filled pots 4cm (1.5in) deep. Place in a warm sunny position and water regularly until they germinate. Sow direct outdoors, placing 2 seeds at the base of each support (at least 23cm (9in) apart), 4 cm ( 1.5in) deep.|
|It is best to construct a support prior to sowing or planting beans. They will climb up sticks, canes, heavy sting, wire or mesh nylon net. The support could be in the form of a wigwam of canes or mesh net attached to 2 horizontal posts approx. 1.8m in height.|
|French beans prefer moist, fertile soil in a sunny position, sheltered from strong winds. Prepare the seed bed or pot/container by digging over and adding plenty of organic material to help retain moisture.|
|What to do Next||Transplant seeds sown indoors to a final growing position once the risk of frost has passed. Place a seedling at the base of each support (at least 23cm (9in) apart) and water well.|
|For seeds sown direct, remove the weakest seedling at each support station. As the seedlings grow encourage them to grow up the support.|
|Keep weed free and water well.|
|Harvest||July to September|
|Handy Tips||Prior to sowing place seeds on damp paper towelling until they swell as this will initiate germination.|
|Try sowing beans in compost filled toilet roll cardboard inners, this allows the soil to be free draining and also allows gives the roots plenty of room to grow. When the seedlings are ready to plant out the cardboard rolls they can be placed directly into the seed bed minimising root disturbance.|
|Once the beans have reached the top of the support, remove the growing tip. This will encourage the plant to focus more of its energy on growing beans.|
|Pick beans often and do not allow them to get too large (before you can see the bean seed shape inside). This will encourage a longer and heavier crop and prevent the beans becoming stringy.|
|Companion Planting||Good Companions: Rosemary, peas, cucumbers, carrots, chives, radishes, lettuce, nasturtiums.|
|Bad Companions: Onion or fennel.|
|Nutritional Information||A good source of vitamins A, K and folic acid.|
|Serving Suggestion||French beans are a mild and versatile vegetable. They can be served whole, sliced or shelled. Add whole or halved to salads, sautéed or steam with other vegetables or chop and cook in curry, risottos, omelettes and casseroles. They are also a good vegetable to freeze after blanching.|
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