The first to appear
Broad beans are the first to appear in your garden, for in milder parts of the world they can be sown in the Fall.
They are a particularly delicious vegetable when garden fresh. Just cook until tender and serve with butter for a true " taste surprises"
When the bean is no more the three inches long it has very tender pods and can be eaten whole. Older beans will need to be shelled
For most people Broad Beans are a “no goer”. In other words, they will not touch them in any shape or form. I have researched the reason for this by asking as many people as I can why they do not like Broad Beans. 99% of the time the answer comes back: “ I had them at school and hated them”
School beans are not good for many reasons; they are not fresh, they are grossly over cooked and they are covered with some foul smelling sauce. In my case the sauce used, was white and full of bits of green; upon reflection, it must have been some sort of parsley sauce. What ever it was, it put me off broad beans for at least 50 years.
My interest in Broad Beans was rekindled when I got an allotment and saw that the vast majority of my neighbours grew them with great success. I am always one to grow what every body else is growing, practically if they are doing it successfully. It means to me that the soil good for that plant and that the crop suits the local climate.
One of the attractions of growing Bread Beans, to my mind was that you can sow them in late fall and mid winter. I do like winter crops because I think that it is the test of a true gardener as to how many crops you have on offer in the winter. Broads Beans fell right into that category.
So off I set and brought some broad beans in November prepared my land and sowed them with great excitement. True to form, some ten days later on a bright November day, I have the first showing of green shots. What joy, what a disaster for the temperature dropped right down to -17c and stayed well below -10c for the next ten weeks. The broad beans were wiped out.
Since that time I have never again grown winter broad beans. However, what I have done is grown Broad Beans as early as I can in late winter( end of January) and then every two weeks till the end of July and it works a treat. You know what? I love them. They are fresh and I steam them for about a minuet; much better then the school ones.
Almost any soil will do and the only preparation necessary will be forking in composted vegetable refuse. In addition, fish manure should be added at 3 ounces to the square yard. If you do not have enough compost, you could use sedge peat instead.
When I sow, I space the rows 2 feet 6 inches apart with the bean black eye up, 3 inches deep and about 6 inches between each bean. I find that the best way to keep the black fly down is to hoe regularly. I also pinch out the tops when the bottom beans are forming. Doing this encourages early production. I pick regularly, when the pods are about 4 inches long. They are then delicious.