Grow your own Broad Beans
Broad beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden, making them an ideal project for children (or amateur gardeners!). The pods and beans are delicious eaten fresh, but they can also be frozen and used in stews at a later stage. Broad beans also produce tiny, sweet-smelling flowers which will attract beneficial pollinating insects to your garden.
Sow broad beans in a sunny area of your garden in fertile, well-draining soil. For best results, enrich the soil a few weeks before sowing with well-rotted compost.
Seeds should be sown in shallow furrows 5cm apart, in rows 20cm apart. After sowing, cover the seeds with a light layer of soil.
Keep the soil weed-free and well watered while the seedlings are growing.
When the first pods form, pinch out the leafy, growing tips of each plant. This encourages an earlier harvest and protects your crop from infestations of black bean aphid.
Broad beans are ready to harvest when the pods are about 7cm in length and the plump beans can be clearly felt through the pods (approximately twelve weeks after sowing).
Did you know?
The young shoot tips which are pinched out when the first pods form can be used as a tasty alternative to spinach.
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