Growing Broad Beans

Latest Update 27th August 2017.

Broad Beans.
  • In Autumn I sow a double row of broad bean seeds (7 per row) in a Garden Ecobed.
  • I use a 1 metre high timber framed plastic net to separate the rows and provide support when it gets windy. 
  • I plant the seeds 50 mm deep to increase the plant's stability in the soil.
  • Broad beans are a healthy addition to the diet containing lots of fibre, minerals and vitamins.
  • We pick them when young and steam them whole in their pods.
  • Surpluses are left to mature, removed from their pods, blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water, dried and stored in resealable bags in the freezer.
  • They make a pleasant addition to soups in winter.
  












Description.
  • Binomial Name:                                        Vicia faba.
  • Family:                                                    Fabaceae.  
  • Variety:                                                    Aquadulce.
  • Crop rotation group:                                   Legumes.
  • Garden bed type:                                      Garden Ecobed.
  • Recommended soil pH:                             6.0 - 7.5.
  • Minimum sun per day:                               8 hours.
  • Plant spacings: (in row: between rows)       200mm: 300mm.
  • Planting depth:                                          50 mm.
  • Weeks to harvest:                                     12 - 22 weeks.
  • Good companions:                                    Potato, Sweetcorn.
  • Climate:                                                   Warm temperate.
  • Geography:                                              Southern hemisphere.
Nutrients.
  • This food is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. 
  • It is a good source of protein, thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fibre, folate and manganese.
  •  More from nutrition data.self.com.
Maintaining Ecobed Productivity. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I maintain productivity in my Ecobeds.  It describes how soil is prepared prior to planting, the importance of rainwater in Ecobeds, how to regulate the sun's intensity and how to feed plants through their leaves.
Propagating Seedlings. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I propagate seeds.
Propagation Plan.

  • Check out my blogpage which tells you when to sow seeds.
Growing Instructions. 
  • In April, clear some of the mulch out of the way in the prepared bed and sow seeds 200mm apart in rows 300mm apart.
  • Sow them about 30mm deep using a dibber and after initial watering let the Ecobed take over water supply.
  • Once the beans have grown to about 100mm tall, move the mulch back to cover exposed soil. 
  • Provide support so the beans don't get blown over in high wind.
  • To control height and reduce wind damage, it's worth nipping off the growth points when the beans are 1200mm high.  This will boost the size of the remaining beans, and provide you with delicious growth tips which can be steamed with a little seasoning and some herbs. 
Harvesting and storage
  • Harvest the beans in October.
  • Pick them very young if you like to cook them in their pods.  
  • Leave some to fully mature and remove the pods before you cook them.  
  • I freeze a few bags of mature beans every year - blanched with pods removed and stored in the freezer.  
  • When I defrost them for cooking, I remove the tough outer skin and steam the beans with a little salt, pepper and mixed herbs.
  • Mostly I use them in mixed garden vegetable soups.  They are cooked podded but not pealed.  The soup may need straining after processing with a stick blender if the bean's outer skins are very tough.  They add taste, nutrients and texture to a creamed vegetable soup.
Organic Pest Control.
  • Broad Beans, like most vegetables, are vulnerable to attack from certain pests in my garden.  My blog on "Controlling Garden Pests" explains a little about these pests and what to do to protect plants from them.  For details click on the appropriate link below.
  • Broad bean rust.
  • Powdery Mildew.