High Yield Farming practices of French Beans
French Beans or Phaseolus vulgaris belonging to the family of Fabaceae is one of the most important and popular crops grown during the Rabi period in India. The crop is cultivated for its tender vegetables, shelled green beans and dry beans.
The crop is usually grown as an intercrop as it is a short duration crop and the farmers get more profit in this very short period. It is an unripe fruit and protective pod of various bean varieties.
The crop is recommended to be harvested before the seeds mature inside. The immature pods are marketed fresh, frozen or canned, whole, cut or French cut and these green immature pods are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
The French Bean pods come in different colours ranging from yellow to green and purple depending on the selected variety and there is a very good demand for these beans in local as well as international markets. The beans are also called Kidney beans, Haricot bean, Snap Bean and Navy bean. It is of two types – Bush and Pole. The yielding of the crop is comparatively less in bush types.
The crop has a rich source of Vitamins, Minerals and proteins and it provides our body with carotenoids like beta carotene, neoxanthin, lutein and violaxanthin with a great antioxidant capacity that helps our body to get rid of harmful radicals and also benefits our cardiovascular system.
It is one of the most cultivated crops in India because of its high protein and vitamin capacity and India itself is responsible for the largest production of French Beans accounting for 37.52% of the total production. However, China has a record of highest production of French Beans in Asia. The crop can be grown in a greenhouse, polyhouse, backyards and even in pots or containers.
According to a report, In 2004, at the global level, production of dry beans was about 19,393 million metric tons in an area covering 26.6 million hectares. The major States responsible for French Bean cultivation in India are Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir, the seed rate being 20 – 24 kg per acre.
Health Benefits of French Beans
Some of the health benefits of French Beans are as follows:
- It helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- It helps in preventing colon cancer.
- It is good for eye health.
- It helps in regulating blood sugar levels.
- It helps in boosting the immune system.
- It prevents gastrointestinal diseases.
- It has a good source of folic acid and
- It helps in weight management.
- It boosts bone health.
Varieties of French Beans
French Beans are categorised into two types – bush and pole. There are also many improved varieties under these categories, one being dwarf bean variety. However, one should make sure to select the right variety according to their region for better yielding of the crop.
Some of the varieties under these categories are:
- Arka Komal
- Arka suvidha
- Pusa Parvathi
- Pant Anupama
- TKD 1
- Kentuky wonder
- L. Boni 1
- UPF 191
- Tender green
and some other Hybrid French Bean varieties.
Climate Requirement for French Beans Cultivation
French Beans are a cool season crop and usually tolerates high temperature conditions as compared to peas. The ideal temperature is 15 °C to 30 °C and it is sensitive to frost conditions, rainfall and high temperatures.
Very low or high temperatures are not recommended for French Beans as it can result in reduced productivity due to the dropping of buds and flowers. It requires about 50 – 150 cm of annual rainfall. However, too much rain can cause water logging and can lead to flower drops and various susceptible diseases.
Soil Requirement for French Beans Cultivation
French Beans can be cultivated in a wide range of soil conditions ranging from sandy soil to heavy clayey soils. However, the crop thrives best in a well drained, loamy and light alluvial soil with pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. To increase the fertility of the soil, Garden compost or well composted Farmyard Manure can be added at the time of land preparation, and for best results it is recommended to do the soil test so as to manage the soil micronutrient deficiency if needed.
Season of French Beans Cultivation
French Beans can be cultivated throughout the year. The only thing important is that it should be provided with sufficient irrigation. In India, it is cultivated from February to March in the Hills and from October to November in the Plains.
Land Preparation for French Beans Cultivation
The land is brought to a fine tilt stage by giving 3 to 4 ploughing and any type of clods or weeds from previous crops are removed for better germination of the seeds. A very well composted Farmyard Manure or Garden compost is added into the soil for better yield of the crop during the last plough.
Propagation & Seed Treatment in French Beans Cultivation
The propagation in French Beans cultivation is done through seeds which should be ripe and dried. The seeds should be properly taken care of for efficient germination and good production. Before planting them, the seed should be treated well to control any type of soil borne or seed borne diseases.
The seeds are treated with Trichoderma @ 4 grams per kg or Thiram or Carbandazim @ 2 grams per kg of seeds, just one day before sowing them in the field and if the crop is grown for the first time, it should be treated with Rhizobium in cluster beans crop.
Seed Rate in French Beans Cultivation
The seed rate generally depends on the cultivar or variety of the crop and the fertility of the soil. On an average, a seed rate of 50 to 60 kg for bush type cultivars and 30 to 35 kg for pole type cultivars is required for an area of one hectare of land.
Spacing & Sowing in French Beans Cultivation
For flatbeds, the seeds are sown at a row spacing of 30 to 40 cm followed by 15 to 20 cm distance from plant to plant and in case of raised beds, the seeds are sown on raised beds with 60 to 80 cm width and 20 to 30 cm height with a row spacing of 30 to 40 cm and 15 to 20 cm distance from plant to plant. The seeds are sown by dibbling, drilling and broadcasting methods at a depth of 2 to 3 cm apart.
Irrigation Requirement in French Beans Cultivation
The soil should have enough moisture to achieve good quality pods and higher yields. Irrigation is very important to be given right after sowing and just before the blooming stage, during the flowering stage and pod development stage. On an average 6 to 7 irrigations are recommended during the growing season and if it is a rainy season crop then irrigation is not required. Sprinkler or Drip irrigation is recommended in areas where there is a water scarcity. Irrigation should be provided at the critical stages of the crop but water stagnation conditions should be strictly avoided.
Intercropping in French Beans Cultivation
French Beans can be intercropped with Maize, Soybean, Groundnut or Peanut crops and crop rotation also achieves good results when the French Beans are rotated with maize or rice crops. The farmers often grow more than one crop in the same field to get extra income.
Manures & Fertilisers in French Beans Cultivation
During land preparation Farmyard manure of 10 to 15 tonnes per hectare land is added and N:P:K of 60:60:40 kg/ha is applied in the form of Urea, Super phosphate, and Muriate of potash. Nitrogen is applied in split doses. During the planting time, full dose of P and K and half dose of N is applied in seed furrows and the remaining dose of N is applied as a top dressing during the flowering stage.
Intercultural Operations in French Beans Cultivation
To control the weeds, Shallow cultivation is carried out without damaging the plant roots. Some Herbicides such as dinitro material @ 2 to 3 kg per acre and sodium salt of pentachlorophenol @ 6 kg per acre can be used as a pre emergence treatment and in case of pole type, the plants are supported with bamboo sticks of 2 m height after 2 to 3 weeks of sowing, to increase the pod yield and quality of seed.
Pests & Diseases in French Beans Cultivation
The common pests and diseases that can be seen in French Beans are:
- Blister beetle
- Bean bug
- Rhizoctonia bean blight
- Angular leaf spot
- Floury leaf spot
- Fuscous blight
- Common mosaic
- Application of spray Malathion @ 0.05% at an interval of 10 to 12 days is effective in mites.
- Endosulfan @ 0.05% during the flowering stage can control Blister Beetles.
- Spraying of Dimethoate @ 0.03 % in 100 litres of water, before the flower initiation stage and pod formation stage can check Bean bugs.
- To control the diseases, disease free variety and healthy and quality seeds should be used. The seeds should be treated with Bavistin 50 WP @ 50 grams per 100 litres of water to control Anthracnose, Rhizoctonia bean blight, Angular leaf spot, Floury leaf spot, Fuscous blight and Common mosaic. In case of infected fields Bavistin 50 WP should be sprayed at an interval of 10 days.
- Apart from all these, you should contact your local horticulture department for disease symptoms and their control.
Harvesting & Yield in French Beans Cultivation
Depending upon the crop variety, the green pods become ready to harvest after 50 to 75 days of sowing. The green pods should be harvested at a fully grown stage, however they should be immature and tender. In general, the pods become ready after 8 to 12 days of flowering. In bush type, 2 to 3 and in pole types, 3 to 5 harvests are possible.
The yield of a crop depends on many factors like variety of the crop, fertility of the soil, irrigation, climatic conditions and the crop management practices. On an average, 40 to 50 quintals of green pods per acre is obtained in bush type and 60 to 75 quintals per acre in pole types, and in case of the yield of seeds, 10 to 12 quintals per acre in bush type and 12 to 15 quintals in pole types can be obtained.