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Grow at Home - Broad Bean or Fava Beans

Written by Vicky Standing


Posted on 18 November 2019


The Broad Bean is the hardiest and earliest of all the beans to grow yourself. Like many vegetables, shop bought versions don't do the tasty flavour justice. They are well worth growing to enjoy fresh from the furry pod. There many varieties to try including the Red Flowered which has stunning deep red flowers and a beautiful fragrance as well as delicious beans.

Soil and Aspect

Grow Broad Beans in heavy soils that are well manured and have good drainage - Manure should be incorporated and dug in during the Autumn. Choose an open sunny site, protected from strong winds, especially if growing over the winter.

Broad Bean Sowing

Autumn sowing

Overwintering varieties are sown in late Autumn - check the back of the seed packet to check you have a variety suitable for over wintering.

Winter sowing

Winter sowings can be made as early as December.  We tried this very successfully with Vigoroot pots, Water Saucers and Coir - and were eating Broad Beans on 1st May.  Find out how we got on in this blog

Growing early broad beans, from leggy to luscious

Broad Bean Experiment - did it work?

More usually Broad Bean sees can be started off in Rootrainers in the greenhouse early in January or February for planting out in the Spring.

Spring sowing

Other varieties can be started off from late winter through to the end of the Spring. Sow in double rows in a shallow trench 20 cm wide and 4 cm deep with 20 cm between the seeds. 



Keep weed free throughout the growing season - a Speedhoe will make short work of weeds between the rows. If there is a dry spell, give plenty of water throughout the period until the pods start to swell. Provide support for taller varieties with canes or an Ornamental Frame. When the first pods start to form, pinch out the top 8cm of growth - This will reduce the danger of black fly attack and aid pod formation.

Harvesting and storage

Pick the pods when they have become swollen. Do not allow the pods to become too mature because they will become leathery and tough. Continuous harvesting extends the cropping season. Broad Beans are best picked and used fresh. Any surplus beans can be frozen or dried.

Pest and Diseases

The most serious problem for the broad bean is black fly. Removing the growing tips when the pods are starting to mature will help to deter this problem. Other than that they are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.  



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