The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Geranium_gem's Garden

Bean - Dwarf French - 'Purple Queen'

Dwarf Bean 'Purple Queen'

Sow indoors April to May (plant out May to June). Sow outdoors late May to July. Make successive sowings throughout the summer (every 3 weeks) to ensure a continual crop. Harvest June to October.

Indoors: Sow 2.5cm deep into individual pots of compost. Water well and place in a warm position. Temp of 15-20 degrees C is ideal. Keep moist. Seedlings usually appear in 7-14 days. Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts) before planting out 25cm apart, when frosts are over. Allow 45cm between rows.

Outdoors: Sow 5cm deep where they are to crop, into finely prepared soil which has already been watered. Delay sowing if soil is cold or waterlogged. Sow 2 seeds together 30cm between each position. Allow 45cm between rows. Thin to leave stronger plant. Water well until plants are established.

Beans prefer to grow in moist, fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered spot away from strong winds.

Dwarf beans will also crop well in large (45cm diameter +) containers if space is limited.

The heavy crop of glossy, deep purple pods grow on upright plants with pretty purple flowers. Good enough to grow in the flower border.

Can be grown with or without supports. Will grow into a 35-60cm tall bushy plant.

When the pods are formed you can help a little by pushing in some twiggy sticks to keep the plants upright and prevent the beans from trailing on the ground - but normally French beans will stand upright of their own accord. Supporting the French beans also keeps them clean and lessens the possible threat of damage by slugs. So you could put bamboo canes at both ends of each row and tie some string between them to help keep them upright.

If you wish to train the plant vertically, create a support before planting. Either make a wigwam with canes, lashed together with string at the top, or create a parallel row of canes, which have their tops tightly secured to a horizontal cane.

Add to the ornamental appeal of wigwams by planting a few fragrant sweetpeas alongside them. These will twine together as they climb, attracting pollinating insects to the beans, and providing flowers to pick at the same time as the crop.

Having shallow roots regular and plentiful watering is vital. Beans should be watered particularly heavily, twice a week in dry weather, both when the flower buds appear and once they're open. Mulch when conditions are dry.

Don’t hoe around bean plants too deeply or you may damage the roots.

Beans capture nitrogen from the air, so make sure the soil contains the other essential ingredients, phosphorus and potassium. So for the fertilizer use something like 10-20-10. They leave the soil nitrogen-enriched even after harvest

Ready to pick in around 52 days. Pick beans regularly to encourage further cropping. Best picked when around the thickness of a pencil. Stringless. The pods revert to green when cooked. Good for freezing.

Purple Queen - "one of the best for flavour".

Seeds from Mr Fothergills 2013

Photos of this plant

  • P1100837