Harvesting Broad Beans

Harvesting broad beans is a matter of taste. If you like mature, hard beans, then leave the pods on the plant until they are beginning to become bronze in colour, before picking. Most people, however, prefer more tender beans. For these, the pods should be picked as soon as sizeable beans can be felt inside. It is a good idea to open one pod, which will indicate if others of the same size are ready. The beans should be a good size but still soft. Alternatively, for a really tender vegetable, try picking very young pods and cooking them, pods and all, as you would for runner beans.

When you pick your beans, do it by a quick downward movement of the hand.

Aftercare

After the main crop has finished, broad beans often send up suckers which, if left, flower and eventually produce beans. A second crop can be obtained in this way—especially if the old growth is cut out to encourage the suckers. The number of beans which can be collected is normally very small, however, so, unless space is no problem in your garden (in which case you may as well have this little extra crop), cut off the plants at ground level once the first beans are harvested and use the land for something else. Still leave the roots in the soil, though, as the nodules on them contain nitrogenous salts which will help the next crops. Brassicas would be a good follow-up, as they are a leafy crop, needing quite a lot of nitrogen.

If the ground is required immediately for another crop, add the discarded top growth of the bean plants to your compost heap. If not, dig the entire plants, leaves, roots and stems, well into the soil (chop them up if necessary) and let them rot. They make an excellent green manure.

31. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Uncategorized, Vegetable Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Harvesting Broad Beans

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