START SEEDS OUTDOORS: In spring, once weather is warm and settled and night temperatures stay above 55°F (13°C), plant seeds in well-worked, fertile soil in full sun. Poke seeds in 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart in rows 1½ feet apart.
FOR CONTAINER PLANTING: Sow seeds in big pots at least 18 to 20 inches in diameter and 18 inches tall filled with fresh, moistened, good-quality potting mix. Make additional sowings in more pots several weeks later until the end of June to provide long continued harvests.
GROWING NOTES: Amend soil well before sowing with lots of aged manure or compost. Protect young seedlings from marauding birds by covering with plastic berry baskets at planting time, removing when plants get crowded. Be sure to thin properly—you will have more productive, disease-free plants if seedlings have enough room to mature.
HARVEST AND USE: Pick these fine-flavored French gourmet beans often; at least every other day or while bean pods are young and slender. The more beans you pick, the more the plants will produce. Steam, sauté or roast them quickly just until tender-crisp and serve simply to fully enjoy their tempting flavor.