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Broad beans are easy to grow and utterly delicious, heralding the end of the hungry gap between late autumn and the beginning of bountiful summer harvests.
The techniques and methods described here are suitable for all types of broad beans.
In sheltered, southern gardens with well-drained soils, broad beans can be sown directly into the soil in early November or February for harvests as early as May. Sown in November, seeds will germinate within two to four weeks and young plants should overwinter and recommence growth as soon as conditions are favourable in spring. In cold areas, or when winters are severe, plants will need fleece or cloche protection.
Elsewhere, sow beans in pots under cover in February for planting out in spring or direct into the ground in March, April and even early May, for harvests throughout the summer. Pot-raised plants are especially useful where soils are wet or rich in clay (as these soils can lead to seeds rotting in the ground).
Growing broad beans is fairly straightforward if you follow the steps below.
Despite the wide range of pests, diseases and disorders that broad beans can be affected by, they are rarely severely damaged.
‘Aquadulce Claudia’: A large, very hardy longpod cultivar for autumn or early spring sowing‘Masterpiece Green Longpod’: A reliable, slender-podded cultivar ideal for freezing‘Medes’: A popular, high-yielding, uniform variety‘Scorpio’: A commercial cultivar bred for the frozen vegetable industry with white flowers and small, mild-flavoured beans‘The Sutton’: A dwarf favourite producing small, tender beans ideal for containers‘Witkiem Manita’: An early-maturing cultivar with heavy yields
BlackflyCrop rotationFrench beansGreen manuresRaised bedsRHS Grow Your OwnRunner beansSeed sowing indoorsSeed sowing outdoorsSoil cultivation
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