Broad Beans are a wonderfully easy Vegetable to grow. Sow Seeds in Spring and Autumn for delicious fat pods full of goodness! Here’s how I grow mine…
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Broad Bean Origins
The broad bean has a long and ancient history of cultivation, also known as the fava bean, or faba bean, it was first introduced to Britain in the 17th century. But Broad bean History goes much further back than that…
It is believed the Broad Bean originated in north Africa and south-west Asia and has been used as a human food source for more than 8,000 years! It was a popular vegetable in the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman diets too.
Broad Bean Characteristics
- The Broad bean Plant can reach heights of between 50 cm-180 cm, dependant on the variety you choose to grow.
- Multiple stems grow from the base of the plant and are covered in broad, oval shaped leaves.
- The flowers can be white, pink or red in colour and bloom just before pods develop (May-June)
- The Broad Bean Pods are leather like, bright green and around 15-25 cm long. Each Bean pod is around 2-3 cm thick with roughly 3-8 beans per pod.
How To Eat Broad Beans
The whole of the Broad Bean is edible, pods and beans! You can Bake, grill, Sauté and even boil them.
*Top Tip– Although the skin (pods) are edible, they do become tougher and more bitter the older the pods become, so pick them young!
Can you eat broad beans Raw?
Broad beans can be eaten raw, pods and all, but only if they are very young, freshly picked pods. The larger Supermarket Broad beans really need to be cooked first
What Do Broad Beans Taste Like?
Fresh broad beans have an earthy, slightly creamy, nutty taste.
Broad Beans NUTRITIONAL benefits
Packed with the Good Stuff! Broad Beans are full of beneficial Vitamins and Minerals including iron, folate, magnesium, Zinc and copper, as well as vitamins such as Vitamins B and C. All of these Vitamins and minerals help with maintaining healthy bones, improving brain function, and can even support a healthy immune system
How To grow Broad Beans
Sow In Spring
Sow In Autumn
- Direct sow broad bean seeds 5 cm deep under cloches in February, or without protection from March to April. Sow seeds 20 cm apart in rows 50 cm apart
- Alternatively Sow indoors in pots in February and place in a cool, frost-free place, like a cool windowsill, cold frame or unheated greenhouse, germination should occur within three weeks. Plant out once the roots have filled the pot-around 6 weeks later * Be sure to harden off indoor raised seedlings first
What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently. This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.
How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks.
- Sow Hardy Autumn varieties like Aquadulce outdoors October-December, 5cm deep, directly into well-cultivated, fertile soil, which has already been watered. Sow Seeds 20 cm apart in rows 50 cm apart.
- Sow Indoors or under glass January – February in individual pots. Plant out once the ground warms up around 6 weeks later
Where To Plant Broad Beans
Choose a sunny, sheltered spot site in free-draining soil. *Some Dwarf varieties can also be grown successfully in containers.
Broad Bean water Requirements
Broad Beans don’t like waterlogged soil, so don’t overwater. Water Frequently to maintain a moist soil, more so during periods of drought
Make sure to keep on top of the weeding! Clear any weeds from in-between Broad bean plants to encourage a more productive plant and a higher yield of pods
*Top Tip For Deterring Black Fly
Pinch out the growing tip of the plant once the first pods are approx. 1cm long. This process encourages an early crop and will help to deter blackfly helps deter blackfly
When To Harvest Broad Beans
Harvesting Broad Beans can start as early as May and as late as September. Start picking broad beans when the pods are roughly 5-8 cm in length.
Broad Bean companion Plants
Plant Alongside – carrots, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, peas, parsley and cauliflowers
Avoid planting with – Garlic, onions, chives, leeks, scallions, shallots, peppers and fennel
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