Broad beans are simple to grow and one of the earliest crops for harvest in late spring. They’re versatile too – shell the pods for the beans, eat the immature pods whole or steam or stir-fry the leafy tops.
If you live in a cold area, have heavy or waterlogged soil, or have a problem with mice (which love the seeds), then it’s a good idea to sow them in deep pots or modules. Place in a cool, frost-free place, such as a cold frame or unheated greenhouse, and they’ll germinate within three weeks.
After around six weeks, the roots will have filled their pots, and the seedlings will be ready to harden off and plant out. Plant broad beans in well-drained soil that has had plenty of organic matter incorporated. Space at around 25cm apart and give them a sturdy support.
Get ahead and start your own crop of tasty broad beans, in just four simple steps.
You Will Need
- Broad bean seeds
- Seed compost
- Seed trays or modules
Fill deep pots or modules with seed compost. It’s important to use deep pots, as broad beans develop long roots.
Use your finger to push a single bean seed, on its edge, into the top of each module. Then cover the seed with a little extra compost – the seed should be about 5cm deep.
Water, soaking the compost thoroughly. Stand the Rootrainers or pots in a cool but frost-free, sheltered place, such as a cold frame, unheated greenhouse or cool windowsill.
Once the roots have filled the pots, harden off the plants by standing them outside during the day but bringing them under cover at night. Soak the compost before planting out.
Look out for aphids
Keep an eye out for aphids, which eat the young, soft shoot tips. Pinch out the tender shoot tips once the first flowers appear, to deter them.