Why broad beans?
Broad beans are a super vegetable for sowing in autumn and growing through winter. They are a low-maintenance crop that will cover and nourish your soil, and you don’t have to do much with them until mid-summer the following year. The bean and pea, family (Legumes) enrich our soils by taking nitrogen from the air and ‘fixing’ it onto the plant’s roots. They bring early flowers in the spring for pollinators, are ready to eat from early summer. You can sow a spring crop for later cropping too.
In a sunny spot. Dwarf varieties can be grown in pots and containers.
If you are growing on soil that feels ‘heavy’ and cold and possibly a bit waterlogged, avoid a winter sowing as the seeds may rot before they germinate.
Grow: October, Nov, March, April, May
Eat: June, July, August
There are a range of different hardy varieties to choose from to suit your growing site. Some can get quite big and may need support in the spring.
Broad beans can also be prone to hungry mice so if you have a windowsill or indoor growing space start beans off under cover, and plant out once the plant has established in a pot. Young plants will need covering initially to ‘harden off’. This is also useful if you are growing on sticky, wet soils to avoid the seed rotting off.
Broad beans can sometime be a bit of trial and error- seed sown too early can produce plants that are quite big and more easily prone to frost or snow damage so watch your sowing times and the long-range forecast. Remember, seed sowing packets are never written for Scottish growers!
Once harvesting of young plants is over, as with other members of the pea and bean family, cut the top of the plant at soil level and leave it’s nitrogen fixing roots to rot in the soil.
Every growing space and every season is different and changes how we grow. Grow 6 is a place to start to practice and learn how to grow and adapt to these changes. Along with supporting new growers through regular updates, your tips and experiences are welcome as we all ‘Get Growing’.