Growing Broad Beans

Latest Update 18th July 2018.

Broad Beans.
  • In Autumn I sow 2 double rows of broad bean seeds (7 per row) in a Garden Ecobed. (28 in total).
  • I use a 1 metre high timber framed plastic net to separate the rows (2 on each side) and provide support when it gets windy. 
  • I sow the seeds in modules (one per module) and plant them out when ready.
  • 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.
  • 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, sow 28 seeds in modular seed trays, 1 per module.  When ready, plant them out in a prepared bed 200mm apart in rows 300mm apart.
  • Sow them about 30mm deep using a large dibber and after initial watering let the Ecobed take over water supply.
  • Once the beans have grown to about 100mm tall, cover any exposed soil with straw mulch. 
  • Provide string lines to support the beans in high winds.
  • To control height, deter pests like blackfly (who are attracted to the succulent new growth in early spring) and reduce wind damage, it's worth nipping off the growth points when the beans have established most of their flowers.  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 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 them with a stick blender.  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 your plants from them.  For details click on the appropriate link below.
  • Broad bean rust.
  • Powdery Mildew.
  • Aphids (Blackfly).