Planting Broad Beans

Broad beans are a great crop to grow over the winter.

Sowing

Broad beans love to be grown in sunny and sheltered which has rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil.

Broad beans can be sown directly into the soil or undercover. If you are sowing directly into the soil, dig over the soil and sow 1 bean 5 cm deep and 23 cm apart in double rows. Sowing undercover will give more reliable germination or where the ground is frozen and pests are a problem. Place one bean per 7cm pot containing multipurpose compost. Place the pot in a frost free place but avoid heated rooms or hot greenhouses. Once the plant is grown a few cm, harden off before planting out 23cm apart.

Sowing can take place in autumn, October (UK) onwards, as long as the ground is not frozen. Plants need to be protected from frost so cloches, poly tunnels or fleece will be needed if the temp drops.

Care

Once the plants start producing young bans at the base of the plant it is time to pinch out the growing tip.

Don’t compromise on spacing as good airflow is essential to prevent disease.

Stakes will be required to prevent the stem from snapping under the weight of the plant

Harvesting

Pick ripe beans from the bottom up and harvest frequently.

Once finished, cut the stems off and dig the roots back into the ground to put nutrients back

Storage

Broad beans are great for storing and can be dried or frozen. If you are freezing them, pick them fresh, pod them then place in a plastic bag before placing in the freezer. If you are drying them, pick, pod and lay the beans in a dry place. Once completely dry, store in an air tight container. They can be used for sowing the following year or re-hydrated for use in cooking.