This is a multi-purpose Italian speciality, either for fresh young pods as flageolets (semi-mature pods with succulent seeds) or more usually as haricots (full mature pods with ripe seeds). The spectacular, flattish, pale green pods are heavily splashed with reddish streaks which disappear on cooking.
Sow seeds 4cm deep in 7.5cm pots or trays of good seed compost. Place in a propagator or sealed container inside a polythene bag and place at 18-21C until after germination which takes 7-10 days. Can also be sown direct outdoors once the soil has warmed sufficiently. Sow in 15cm apart, 4cm deep. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for a few days before planting out after all risk of frost has passed. Grow as you would runner beans and support with canes or netting. Hoe regularly and keep well-watered, especially when flowering. Mulch during dry periods.
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