French Beans - Blue Lake

All the advice is to pick the pods asap so as to encourage further pod development. How is this so given that the pods develop from their flower, so therefore more flowers would have to develop in order for more pods.
Does early cropping encourage further flower growth, or does the plant flower only once?
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anthony123hopki


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Harvesting the green beans (French beans) while they are still green encourages the plant to set more flowers. Let the beans mature to brown and dry, and the plant will cease producing.
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- Billy
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anthony123hopki wrote:

This is what happens in fact. In addition the beans are nicer when young so pick them regularly and if you can't eat them all while fresh then give the rest away, you will get more good beans yourself.

Different cultivars have different flowering patterns. The ones favoured by commercial growers flower over a short period and most of the beans are ready together. This is advantageous as such growers like to harvest all at once, often using machinery.
Home growers are better off with a cultivar that flowers continuously over a long period so there is a steady harvest of beans. It is a while since I grew them but I think blue lake are in the latter category. The cultivar that I grew last summer produced continuously for seven months.
David
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    Which is, in fact, the case for the "Blue Lake" round green beans. I suppose they could be called "French" beans because they're round green "zydeco" or snap-beans but I sure don't think of them as being in the same league as "real" French fillet beans; "Delinel", say.     Blue Lake beans were developed for machine-processing by West Coast (U.S.A.) food packers. They blossom and bear within a narrow time frame in order to provide uniform, if mediocre, beans for the canning industry. Blue Lake beans develop a thick, fleshy pod quickly but it gets tough as the beans mature. Blue Lake beans endure close spacing and high temperatures (back in the day, we picked'em for Del Monte in South Florida in late fall, nearly winter) and are tough enough for machine picking (going to be steam pressure canned, remember). Unfortunately, Blue Lake beans are among those primitive hairy beans with mediocre, generic "green" flavor; pods get tough long before they mature, and they have far too short a harvest for home gardens.     Traditionally, round beans for the fresh foods markets were hand picked and different varieties could be found in stores here in the States. However, within the past ten-or-so years, machine-picked Blue Lake beans have come to dominate fresh produce departments in supermarkets in U.S.A. and the better-quality richer-flavored more tender "snap beans" have disappeared from all but farmers' markets, specialty markets, and home gardens and seeds for some of those have become hard to find.
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Balvenieman wrote:

It's more than 20 years since I grew blue lakes so I had to look it up. It is odd because now there seems to be climbing and bush varieties, some photos look quite round and others flatish. Many suppliers and comentators say they bear over a period of time. This mob:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1216/is_n4_v196/ai_18285074 /
say the original 'blue lake' has been bred quite a bit more since it was first seen.
It seems that there is more than one bean going around called by that name so it may depend on which one Anthony has whether it flowers all at once or over a period of time.
David
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    Well, it makes sense that development of the line would continue because blue lake continues to be the most viable commercial variety and there surely must be some interest from small growers and home gardeners. However, I find it as reasonable that consumers' tastes have changed as that the bean has changed, LOL! "Blue lake" may be, as the 1996 article describes, "mild, sweet, tender-crisp" but to this old head, they still don't taste like beans ;-)
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'David Hare-Scott[_2_ Wrote: > ;894417']anthony123hopki wrote:-

> young so

> the

> favoured by

>

> all at

> over a

> I

> cultivar

David
Thanks for that. What cultivar was that one you mentioned that produced over the seven month period. I would be very interested to know.
Anthony
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I've been having good luck with Maxibel, and Fin de Bagnols (French, green, string beans) producing through the season. The last 2 years they have produced for me from June to the beginning of November. I use the bush variety of these, but I believe they come as pole beans as well.
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anthony123hopki wrote:

It isn't a named variety (at least the vendor doesn't admit it is one). It is sold by "Mrs Fothergills" and described as bush beans. I don't know if they are international. You are not going to get seven months of production unless your growing season between frosts is about nine months, you feed them, and water and pick them regularly and keep them from baking in mid summer..
David
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    Is she the other half of "Mr Fothergills"? http://mrfothergills-seeds-bulbs.com.au/index.php
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Balvenieman wrote:

Oops. They are the same. Well my grandma had a moustache and that's my story and I am sticking to it.
I had to get the packet. They are not 'bush beans' but 'dwarf beans - tendergreen'.
David
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    LOL! Well, mine wore combat boots and I have a photo ;-)

    Aha! An open-pollinated variety that is widely available in U.S.A. Available early in the season, at least.... T&M, UK has them in its online catalog but out of stock. Other online UK sources seem to be reselling T&M seeds. As far as I can see, the variety is not offered in the T&M, US online catalog but I did find them at this website in U.S.A.: http://www.westwindseeds.com /
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