How to Grow Broad Beans
How to Grow Broad Beans
Broad Beans. Vicia faba. (Fava Bean)
This is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. Broad beans will grow on almost anyexcepting badly drained ground and land which dries out in early summer.
Deeply moved soil manured for a previous crop is ideal. Give a dusting of lime when the final surface preparations are being carried out.
Seed can be sown outdoors from early winter to spring or under cloches early in the year. Sown in spring the crop is likely to be poor and subject to black fly. Even for the November sowings, some kind of glass covering is useful. In all cases the plants need uncovering before growth reaches the top of the cloche glass. It is not worth making an autumn sowing in cold districts or where the soil is heavy and badly drained. If weather conditions prevent early outdoor sowings, seed can be started in boxes in a heated greenhouse or frame, for planting outdoors later.
For the earliest sowings use Long Pod varieties. These are hardier and heavier yielding than Windsors, which however, are of better flavour. Sow the seed 5cm deep in double rows, with 20 cm between drills. Allow 75cm between each double row. Place the seeds zigzag 15cm apart.
Dwarf varieties can have closer spacing. For the earliest sowings extra seeds should be sown at the end of the rows for filling gaps. As thepush through the soil they should be slightly earthed up. This gives added protection as well as anchoring the plants. Earliest sown plants can be protected with bracken or straw during severe weather, removing the material when it becomes milder.
Keep downby regular surface hoeings along the rows. Frequent inspection of the plants is advisable, so that blackfly can be dealt with by sprayings of liquid derris or a similar insecticide.
Once the first trusses of flowers are in full bloom, pinch out the tips. This will help pods to develop and discourage blackfly. Pest free tips can be cooked and used like.
Gather the pods while young, before the skins become tough. Early picking means good flavoured tender beans and a heavier longer crop. Sometimes when the main growth has finished cropping, a secondary basal growth develops and will yield quite well. The top growth of finished plants can be cut of and if the roots are dug in it will increase the nitrogen content in the soil.
Long Pods: Aquadulce Claudia, very early. Seville Long Pod; Johnson’s Wonderful; Exhibition Long Pod; Longfellow, heavy cropper; Red Epicure, with rich chestnut-crimson coloured beans or delicious flavour. Fenland Wonder, remarkably vigorous, heavy cropping. Colossal, one of the longest podded varieties. Outstanding for exhibition purposes. Imperial, Green or White Longpod, up to nine beans in a pod, excellent flavour. Masterpiece, green longpod. A fine broad bean for early sowing and for freezing.
Windsors: The Sutton, 25 to 30cm high. Useful for the. Dwarf White Gem, a green-seeded, small podded sort. Beck’s Dwarf, an old but reliable variety. Green Windsor, excellent flavour.