Broad beans are a very hardy and reliable crop to grow. Autumn planting varieties like Super Aquadulce can be planted straight into the ground in October and November. This gives them an advantageous start over spring planted ones and gives you an earlier crop. Most other varieties are planted in the spring. The plants will grow to about 90 cm, sometimes multi-branching. The leaves are a large lobe shape of a grayish green. The white and black flowers appear late spring. Get down and give them a sniff, they are very fragrant! Pollinated by bees and other insects the flowers give way to bright green pods. Broad beans can be white or green seeded.
Superaquadulce is an improved variety for sowing straight into the ground in October and November for the earliest crops in the following May. It can also be sown in the spring for mid-summer harvest. It is high-yielding with good sized tasty beans in long pods.
How to grow: Sow seed direct in the ground in October and November. Sow in double rows at least 30 cm apart and if planting more than one double row allow a metre between them. The easiest way is to dig a shallow trench just 5-10 cm deep and lay the beans in a zigzag about 10 cm between the seeds. Do your double row 30 cm away and cover the seed with soil. Put some stakes in at the end of the rows and use these to tie biodegradable string around to support them as they grow. Harvest from June onwards when you can feel the beans are a decent size in the pods. Pests and diseases Broad beans do attract black aphids. You can get rid of them by picking out the tips of mature plants where they congregate but we tend not to worry about them and hope they in turn attract ladybirds and their larvae. Broad beans can also get chocolate spot. Seeds and seedlings can be damaged by mice. If this is likely to be a problem, start your seeds off in pots and plant out. How to cook Pod and remove the beans from their furry jackets. The simplest way to cook is to steam them for just a few minutes until tender. They also make great dips and patties. Some like to pick them very young and eat them as mange-tout, pods and all.
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