Phaseolus vulgaris Among summer vegetables Dwarf French Beans are deservedly in high favour, and are everywhere sown at the earliest moment consistent with reasonable expectations of their safety. This early sowing is altogether laudable, for although it occasionally entails the loss of a plantation, the

aggregate result is advantageous, and a very little protection suffices to carry the early plant through the late spring frosts. But those who supply our tables with green delicacies do not all recognise the importance of late sowings of Dwarf Beans. Here, again, a risk must be incurred, but the cost is trifling, and when the summer is prolonged to October the late-sown Beans are highly prized. Even if they produce plentifully through September there is a great point gained, but that cannot be secured from the earliest sowings; it is impossible. After July it is useless to sow Beans, but where the demand is constant, two or three sowings may be made in this month, choosing the most sheltered nooks that can be found for them. For late sowings the earliest sorts should have preference. Dwarf Beans for main crops require a good though somewhat light soil; but any fairly productive loam will answer the purpose, and the crop will yield an ample return for such reasonable digging and dressing as a careful cultivator will not fail to bestow. At the same time, it is a matter of some practical importance that the poorest land ever put under tillage will, in an average season, yield serviceable crops of these legumes, and on a rich soil of some depth the Dwarf Bean will endure summer drought better than any other crop in the Kitchen Garden. Earliness of production is of the highest importance up to a certain point; but an early crop being provided for, abundance of production next claims consideration, the heaviest bearers being of course best adapted for main-crop sowing. As regards the sowing and general culture, it is too often true that Dwarf Beans are crowded injuriously, even in gardens that are usually well managed. Nothing is gained by crowding. On the contrary, loss always ensues when the individual plant, through deficiency of space, is hindered in its full development. For early crops which are eventually to come to maturity in the open ground, the first sowings may be made in the month of April, either in boxes in a gentle heat, or better still in a frame on a sunny border without artificial heat. In districts where frost frequently prevails in May, and on heavy soils where early sowings outdoors are impracticable in a wet spring, the forwarding of plants under glass is very desirable, but the actual date for sowing must depend on local conditions. The tender growth that is produced by a forcing process is not well adapted for planting out in May; but a plant produced slowly, with plenty of light and air, will be stout and strong, and if put out with care as soon as mild weather occurs in May, will make good progress and yield an early crop. The seed for this purpose should be sown in rather light turfy soil, as the plants may then be lifted without injury to their fleshy roots. Careful treatment will be desirable for some time after they are planted, such as protection from sun and frost, and watering, if necessary, although the less watering the better, provided the plants can hold their ground. The plot to which these early sowings are to be transplanted should be light and rich, and lying towards the sun; open the lines with the spade or hoe in preference to using the dibber, and as fast as the roots are dropped into their places with their balls of earth unbroken, carefully restore the fine soil from the surface. Rough handling will seriously interfere with the ultimate result, but ordinary care will insure abundant gatherings of first-class produce at a time when there are but few in the market. On dry soils a small sowing may be made about the second week of April on a sheltered south border. Sow in double rows six inches apart, and allow a distance of two feet between the double rows. When the seedlings appear give protection if necessary, and in due course thin the plants to six inches apart in the rows. Main crops are sown from the last week in April to the middle of June. The distance for the rows may be from one and a half to two feet apart, according to the vigour of the variety, the strongest growers requiring fully two feet, and the distance between the plants may be eight to twelve inches; therefore it is well to sow the seed two to three inches apart, and thin out as soon as the rough leaves appear. The ground being in fairly good condition, it will only be necessary to chop over the surface, if at all lumpy, and with the hoe draw drills about two inches deep, which is far better than dibbling, except on very light soil, when dibbling about three inches deep is quite allowable. Generally speaking, if the plot be kept clean, the Beans will take care of themselves; but in droughty weather a heavy watering now and then will be visibly beneficial, for although the plant bears drought well, it is like other good things in requiring something to live upon. In exposed situations and where storms are prevalent, it is an excellent practice to support the plants with bushy twigs. Late Crops.--To extend the outdoor supply sowings may be made early in July. When the ground has become dry and hard, it is advisable to soak the seed in water for five or six hours; the drills should also be watered, and, if possible, the ground should be covered with rotten dung, spent hops, or some other mulchy stuff to promote and sustain vegetation. The gathering of the crop should be a matter of discipline. Where it is done carelessly, there will very soon be none to gather, for the swelling of a few seeds in neglected pods will cause the plants to cease bearing. Therefore all the Beans should be gathered when of a proper size, whether they are wanted or not; this is the only way to insure a long-continued supply of good quality both as to colour and tenderness. Autumn, Winter and Spring Supplies.--By successional sowings under glass a continuous supply of Beans may be obtained through autumn, winter, and spring. The earliest sowings should be made at fortnightly intervals, from mid-July to mid-September, in cold frames filled with well-manured soil. Put in the seeds two inches deep and six inches apart, in rows one foot apart. Water copiously during the hot months and give protection when the nights become cold. After mid-September crops of dwarf-growing varieties should be raised in heated pits, or in pots placed in a warm temperature. In pits the beds should be one foot deep, the drills one foot apart, and the plants six inches asunder in the rows. When pots are used the ten-inch size will be found most convenient. Only three-parts fill the pots with a good compost, and insure perfect drainage. Place eight or nine beans one and a half inches deep in each pot, eventually reducing the number of plants to five. As the plants progress soil may be added to within an inch and a half of the rims. Air-giving and watering will need careful management, for the most robust growth possible is required, but there must be no chill, and any excess of either moisture or dryness will be immediately injurious. When a few pods are formed feed the plants with alternate applications of soot water and liquid manure, commencing with highly diluted doses. Thoroughly syringe the plants twice daily to combat Red Spider. At night a temperature of from 55 deg. to 60 deg. must be maintained. In mid-February sowings may be made in frames in which six inches of fertile soil has been placed over a good layer of litter or leaves. From these sowings heavy crops may be secured in spring and early summer before the outdoor supplies are ready. Flageolets is the name given to the seeds of certain types of Dwarf and Climbing Beans when used in a state intermediate between the green pods (Haricots verts) and the fully ripe seeds (Haricots secs), and they are strongly to be recommended for culinary purposes. The use of Bean seeds as Flageolets, although so little known in this country, is very largely practised abroad, and in the vegetable markets of many French towns the shelling of the beans from the semi-ripe pods by women, in readiness for cooking in the manner of green peas, is a very familiar sight. The seeds of almost all varieties are suitable for use in this way, irrespective of colour, as this is not developed as would be the case if the seeds were quite ripe.

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