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Broad Beans

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Broad Beans will grow on almost any soil as long as it is free draining. They like ground that has been well dug and manured the previous autumn. Limed if need be. A low Nitrogen, high Potash fertilizer can be raked in before sowing.

Longpods are hardier, crop earlier, and give a higher yield.
Windsor varieties have the best flavour, but lower yields.
Dwarf varieties can be grown under cloches, or in exposed areas.

 

The usual way to sow is to make pairs of drills 7cm deep, 20cm apart, with 60cm between each pair.  Sow the seeds 10 to 15cm apart.  Sowings can be made under cloches in February or March, and in open ground in April and May. Autumn sowing is sometimes carried out in open ground, with limited success.

Some support will be needed for taller varieties. Place canes either side of the rows and run garden string around the row at 2 to 3 different heights, tying to the canes.


Hoe down the rows frequently and hand weed around the plants. Broad Beans have a low water content and rarely if ever need to be watered. Rain being quite adequate, even in drier than average years.


As soon as the plants have stopped producing flower, the tops should be snapped off. There is no benefit in allowing the plants to go taller and by removing the soft tip, blackfly can be prevented. The tips can also be eaten.


Harvest the pods before the beans inside become black eyed. The pods should not be left to bulging. At that stage they have gone too far.

 
Small pods, 2 to 3 inches long, can be picked and cooked whole.

 

When the crop is finished the plants make excellent compost. The roots should be left in the ground and then dug in later. Broad Beans have Nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots. An excellent way of putting slow release Nitrogen back into the soil.




 

 

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