Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Growing broad beans in autumn/winter

Autumn is an ideal time to start grow broad beans. They are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, are high in protein and rich in vitamin C. They grow best in a sunny situation sheltered from winds and enjoy a moist, well-drained soil.

How to sow seeds direct into soil:

Dig over the soil and sow seeds 5 cm (2 inches) deep and 15c m - 23 cm (6 - 9 inches) apart.  For raised planters sow rows 23 cm (9 inches apart). Ensure any weeds are removed regularly

How to sow seeds under cover:

Sowing your broad beans under cover be more reliable especially if there are long periods of frost Sow one seed per 7 cm (3 inch) pot filled with multi-purpose compost. Water in well and place in a cool but frost-free place. Avoid hot greenhouses as they will fail to germinate. Harden off before planting directly in the soil outside, 23 cm (9 inches) apart.

After care:

Once young beans appear at the base of the plant it is time to pinch out the growing tips. Remove the tip at the very top of the plant with two leaves attached. As the plants grow you will need to stake them with bamboo to prevent the stems from bending or breaking. 

Bean varieties to try:

Imperial Green Long pod is a hardy variety
Optica is a compact plant, ideal for small spaces
Sutton is a dwarf variety and suitable for containers and pots
Aquadulce Claudia is ideal for autumn sowing 

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