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Propagation

Seed Acquisition and Treatment

Use certified seeds from reputable seed agents. Normally the produce buyers supply seeds to their contracted farmers. Should seeds come from other sources they should be disease free and well sort.    Before planting, the seed should be dressed with Fernasa-D (combination of Lindane and Thiiram) at the rate of: 3g (i.e. 2 flat teaspoons) per kg. of seed.

Manure Application

Application of 10 tons Farm Yard Manure per hectare is recommended, especially where soils are low in organic matter content.  Manure should be applied in planting furrows and worked into soil before planting.

Fertilizer Requirements

At planting:
200kg D.A.P per hectare should be applied during planting.  The fertilizer should be applied in the planting furrow and mixed thoroughly with the soil before placing the seed.

Top dressing:
Apply 100kg C.A.N per hectare at the first ‘three leaves’ stage, and another 100kg per hactare at the onset of flowering.

Foliar Feed:

Foliar feed such as Bayfolan or Rapid-grow, should be applied fortnightly, from the forth week after planting to the middle of podding phase.

Field Establishment

Growing Season:
Planting starts at the on set of rains.With irrigation, French beans can be grown all year round but the main export season is from October to May. Sowing should be scheduled such that most of the crop is ready between October to mid December, and from mid-January to end of May.

Planting Schedule:

To maintain continuous production, planting should be staggered at 2-3 weeks intervals in conveniently sized plots.

Spacing:
Beans should be sown in single rows of 30 by 15cm, (1 seed per hole); or double rows 60 by 30 by 10cm. It is advisable to plant in blocks of four single rows, separated by a path of about 50cm, for ease of management.

Seed Rate:
One hectare takes a total of 50-60 kg of bean seed.
French beans are sown directly into a well prepared seed bed.

Picking time:

In warm areas, beans take 45 to 50 days from planting to first picking.

Irrigation

Regular water supply is essential as moisture affects yields, uniformity and quality.  It is advisable to grow the beans on ridges and use furrow irrigation in heavy clays. This is because beans are very sensitive to water logging.

  • To maintain a continuous production especially during the off-season, irrigation is essential.
  • It is recommended to apply 35 mm/week at planting to 10 days post emergence and 50mm/week thereafter to flowering stage.
  • Water could be applied through furrow or overhead irrigation.

Mulching

Mulching helps establishment under wet conditions because young bean seedlings are prone to fungal infection caused by soil splash

Weed control

Timely and thorough weeding is absolutely essential.  The first weeding should be done 2-3 weeks after emergence. Second weeding should follow 2-3 weeks later. Care should be taken to avoid damaging the shallow roots especially during the first weeding. Crops should not be weeded at flowering time and when the field is wet to avoid flower shedding, spread of diseases and soil compaction. Use of herbicides could be economical for the commercial French beans grower.  The following pre-emergence herbicides can be used: -.

  • Lasso 4 EC (Alachlor) at 3 Litres in 400 litres of water per hectare
  • Stomp (Pendimethalin) at 2.5 Litres in 400 litres of water per hectare
  • Basagran (Bentazon)     can be applied post-emergent at 2.5-3lts/ Ha for control on broad-leaved weeds.
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