Sow: September-November; January-March Harvest: May-July
Germination: 10-14 days Full sun
Unlike most beans, broad beans love cool weather. This makes them the perfect bean for our British climate. If you live in a part of Britain where the ground doesn’t freeze during winter (or you have a greenhouse/cloche that prevents the ground from freezing), lant Abroad beans in the fall (Sept. to Nov.) so that the plants can establish good root systems and produce the next spring.
In colder areas, plant in early spring (February is not too early). Believe it or not, Aquadulce’s and other broad beans can actually tolerate a light frost. Make sure to plant them in full sun in well-worked soil.
Direct Seed: Sowings should be 2” deep and 10cm (4") apart. Rows should be 20cm (8") apart. When thinning, feel free to transplant uprooted plants to another row--they should do fine.
Broad beans prefer well-worked, well-drained soil.
If growing outside, water only when needed--at the start of the seedling growth and once flowers have formed. They should be fine from there on out unless there is a drought (unlikely in our British winter weather).
With obroad beans, you can pinch out the growing tip once lower pods have formed to deter blackfly. (Some of wait until we see the blackfly first, but if you want to be preemptive, do it sooner.)
Once plants reach 15cm tall support them loosely with canes and string.
If growing over winter, cover plants with a cloche during hard freezes to prevent damage.
Broad beans are best picked young, when they have a sweeter taste. This can be as early as when the pods are tiny and pointing upwards on the stems or once the pods start to swell and the seeds become visible as bumps (when they start pointing downwards). Waiting longer to harvest will produce tougher skins and a wooly texture in the mouth. (If you end up with older beans and aren’t looking for dried broad beans, try blanching them for a minute or two in boiling water and then squeezing the seeds out of their bitter coats.)
If you’re wanting a dry bean that will store well, wait until the pods shrivel up and the beans are completely dry inside.
Once harvested, leave the roots in the ground and/or till in the stems lightly to allow the nitrogen-fixing nodules can fertilise the next crop.
For freezing, shell, blanch for 3 minutes, plunge into cold water, drain and pack into portions.
Broad beans are a part of the nitrogen-fixing legume family of plants. Use anywhere you’d like to add nitrogen to the soil. They combine well with corn, squash, lettuce, kale, spinach, and other greens. They’re not fond of the allium family (garlic, onion, chives, etc.), sunflowers or beets.