Growing Broad Beans

 

This is my first year at growing broad beans – I’ve been told they are easy to grow!

I’ve bought Bunyards Exhibition (though there are other varieties out there just as good – see the BBC website for ideas: growing broad beans).

Also, check out the GardenAction website: How To Grow Broad Beans.

Growing Broad BeansIt is a longpod variety and will have approximately 6-8 beans in a pod. These vegetables like a sunny sheltered spot sheltered from the wind.

Broad beans like well dug, rich fertilised (leaf mould or well rotted manure) and well drained soil.

If your plot is windy (or small) maybe a dwarf variety would better suit your circumstances.

Spacing is important as a good flow of air between the plants is needed to ensure fungal diseases don’t harm your crop.

You can sow indoors between February and April. The beans need to be sown an inch (2.5cm) deep and be kept moist at about 15 degrees C (60 F). Seven to ten days later seedling should appear. Then from April (after frosts) acclimatise before planting outside. The broad beans should be planted in rows that are 2 foot (60cm) apart and 6 inch (15cm) apart within the row.

Click for: Sowing Broad Beans Video

If you want to plant straight into the garden, do so between February and May. You can even sow in the Autumn if the ground is not frozen. However, you will need to be vigilant of cold snaps so will need fleece, cloches or a polytunnel on hand. Plant the seeds, spacing as above, and 2 inches (5cm) deep. Plants should appear 10 – 14 days later.

Broad beans, shelled and steamed

Once they start to grow higher, the broad bean plants will need support or they will bend and break. Stakes and string will do or chicken wire.

When lower pods have formed on the plants you need to pinch out the growing tip. This deters blackfly.

Depending upon when you planted them they will be ready to harvest from June to August.

Once the broad beans have finished cut off the stems and dig their roots back into the soil (they have nitrogen captured in them).

I’ve got a few new broad bean dishes lined up for later on in the year, so I’ll add them once I’ve completed the taste-test!

Alan

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