How to grow Broad Beans in the Garden
An under estimated Vegetable with an acquired taste
In the vegetable garden year it's the sowing of Broad Beans which often starts off the growing season and puts us in the mood for better things to come.
Broad Beans enjoy a richly dug in manure and well rotted compost. This should be done a few weeks before growing is started.
The seeds should be sown 2" deep and 6" apart. They grow better in double rows and a space of 9" should be given.
If sowing more than two rows, leave a 3 feet gap before the next row.
Although sowing fairly close together should help them to support each other, I put 3 feet high Canes next to each seedling and I can't think of any previous seasons where I've not had to string them to the poles at some stage.
Some people sow them in November and allow to grow slowly through the winter for a quick start in Spring. The only time I have done this though they still finished up fully grown at about the same time as the late February.
You can also sow them indoors or in a Greenhouse in 5" pots and plant out when they are some 5" - 6" tall.
For some reason they do seem to attract weeds so regular hoeing between the rows is required.
The only other thing is to watch the support, they are fairly fragile and subject to wind damage..
Pick the pods when they are well filled, leave to long and they will become tough. Best to pick the odd one now and again to see how they are getting on.
The Beans will have passed their best if they have developed 'black eyes'.
Pests and Diseases
Blackfly are very attracted to Broad Beans, I can't remember a year where they've suddenly appeared almost overnight and once they get a grip, it's really hard to cure the situation.
To rid them either use a good organic pesticide or try hosing them off.
If you're always been put off by the bitter taste of this vegetable try peeling off the shells, it's surprising how sweet they are either raw as a Salad or cooked.
Dates and times given may vary by Region and on the Variety chosen to grow. Please check the Seed Packets for individual guides.