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Growing Broad Beans – Broad beans (Vicia faba) from your own garden are tasty and beautifully soft, and they are one of the first harvests of the year. From seed, they’re simple to cultivate, producing green pods of green or white beans that may be used in salads, stews, and soups, among other dishes.
The plants don’t take up much area and may be grown in a variety of ways, including the ground, raised beds, and huge containers. In the early spring, you may also purchase young plants.
Broad beans should be planted outdoors in the spring or fall at a spacing of 20cm between rows and 60cm between rows. If you live in a cold climate, have heavy soil, or have a mouse issue, sow seeds under cover first, then transplant the young plants outdoors six weeks later, as recommended by the USDA.
Pinch off the tops of plants to avoid blackfly infestations, and stake taller varieties to prevent them from collapsing under the weight of the beans they are producing. Harvest the beans when the pods are just 6cm long in order to get the most delicate beans.
Sowing broad bean seeds
Because broad bean seeds are huge, they are quite simple to plant. Hardy varieties, such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia,’ can bear fruit as early as May.Generally speaking, spring sowing is more dependable, particularly in thick clay soil, which may cause the seed to decay before germination if not done correctly. Sow in March or April for a summer harvest the following year.
Sowing broad bean seeds outdoor
- Fork enough compost or manure into the area before you start planting to make a fine crumbly texture.
- Drill 5cm deep drills with around 20cm between each one, or seed in double rows 60cm apart in 5cm deep drills.
- Sow the seeds 5 cm deep into the ground.
- In a shallow pan of dirt, cover the seeds with soil, firm them down, and water them well.
- If the weather is extremely cold, cover with horticultural fleece or cloches.
Sowing broad bean seeds indoor
If you live in a cold climate, have heavy or soggy soil, or have a mouse issue (which eats the seeds), it’s a good idea to start broad beans from seed inside in deep pots or modules before the weather turns chilly.
- Peat-free multipurpose compost may be used to fill small pots or modules.
- Plant one seed in each pot or module, 5 cm deep, and thoroughly water.
- Place them in a cool, frost-free environment, such as a cold frame or an unheated greenhouse, and they should germinate within three weeks of planting.
- After six weeks, when the roots have completely filled the container, transplant them outside.
Growing broad beans in the ground
If you started your broad beans in pots, you will be able to transplant them into the ground after the roots have completely filled their containers. Plant the seeds around 20cm apart and thoroughly water them in.
How to treat broad bean plants
Covering the freshly sown area with netting will help to keep birds and squirrels away from the seeds. According to the weather and soil conditions, seedlings should sprout within a few weeks after planting.
Once the flowers begin to bloom, be sure to water them frequently and hoe between the rows to keep weeds at bay. Pinching off the growth tips as soon as the blooms emerge can assist in reducing the likelihood of blackfly assaults on the plants.
For taller types of broad bean, canes and string should be used to support the plants. Place sturdy supports at the end of each row, and then wrap rows of thread around them at a 30 cm interval to support the plants. Make sure to put the supports in while the plants are still small to avoid damaging them.
What is the best way to harvest broad beans
You should pick broad beans while they are quite young (approximately 6 cm long) if you wish to eat them raw in their pods. This will prevent them from becoming tough or bitter. Wait a bit longer, until you can plainly see that the pods are overflowing with beans, before shelling them and eating them.
Plants should be left in the ground as long as possible after they have been harvested. Broad beans, like other legumes, contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the nodules of their root systems, which helps to increase the amount of nitrogen in the surrounding soil. The crops that you plant in this location next year will enjoy the advantages of your efforts.
How to keep broad beans once they have been harvested
You may either prepare the wide beans fresh or freeze them by blanching them for three minutes and then plunging them into a basin of cold water to halt the cooking process.
How to deal with broad bean diseases?
Aphid of the Blackfly/Black Bean
In the spring, blackflies may form dense colonies on the fragile, immature shoot tips of plants, causing development to be stunted. Once the first blossoms develop, pinch off the fragile shoot tips to alleviate the issue. This should help to significantly lessen the problem.
Pea and bean weevils are a kind of weevil
Pea and bean weevils are a nuisance in the vegetable patch, although they are seldom a big issue. The larvae are found in the soil and feed on the nodules formed by the roots. They then crawl up plants to chew the margins of their leaves when they emerge as adults in June or July, depending on the species.
Fortunately, these 4 mm-long, brown, snout-nosed insects seldom cause serious injury or even death. Unless the plants are tiny and severely infected, they have a high chance of surviving. Remove any beetles that you come across.
A chocolate splotch with broad bean
This fungal disease affects the whole plant, causing reddish-brown patches all over it. In particular, it may be seen on plants that have been planted in the fall, in moist, humid conditions, or on plants that have been planted in close proximity to one another. It may result in the loss of blooms (and, therefore, the loss of beans) as well as the collapse of the whole plant.
Due to the lack of chemical control, it is best to increase air movement around plants, eliminate weeds, and dispose of or burn any infected material rather than add it to the compost heap. It is not recommended to preserve or store seed from affected plants.
Additional tips for purchasing broad beans seeds
- Broad bean seeds are commonly accessible in garden centers and on the internet.
- Make certain that you are purchasing a variety that is ideal for autumn sowing if you want to plant it in the fall.
- Also look at the height and spread of the plant; certain smaller kinds are suited for container cultivation.
- In the early spring, you may be able to purchase young broad bean plants for sale at your local garden center or on the internet.