Broad beans growing under cover

Sow broad beans every three weeks for a continuous crop.

Delicious, high-protein beans that are relatively easy to grow and heavy croppers. Flowers are loved by bees. Under the right conditions, broad beans may help to fix some nitrogen into your soil.
Growing calendar
Sow outdoors Feb-mid May, Oct-Nov
Harvest End May-Aug

How to grow broad beans

Sow 5cm deep in rows 23cm apart February to April in fertile soil in a sunny site. Autumn varieties can be sown October to November to overwinter. Sow every three weeks for a continuous crop. They can also be started off in pots in a greenhouse.

Water plants when the pods are swelling (during dry weather). Remove weeds and stake if needed.

Harvesting and using broad beans

Wait until the seeds start showing through the pods before picking. Best when they are young and sweet, in their skins.

Incorporate spent plants into the soil after use, as this may add nutrients to your soil and improve structure.

Tips for growing broad beans

Aphids love broad beans and can become a real problem in a warm spring. Remove the growing tips after the first flowers have set to deter black fly. A strong-smelling companion plant could also act as a deterrent. If there's an infestation, check plants daily and wipes leaves with a damp cloth. Snip off heavily infested shoots.

Saving broad bean seeds

Allow the pods to dry on the plants if possible, but be aware that they may rot. As they ripen the pods blacken and lose their sponginess; they are ready to clean when the pods have become black and crispy. Whole plants can be brought in to dry in a warm, airy place if necessary. Broad bean seeds should last in storage for at least three years.

Growing notes
Difficulty Give it a grow
Germination time 7-14 days
Average time to harvest 12-16 weeks
Equipment needed Stakes, twine
Average plant size 75cm tall, 30cm wide
Latin name Vicia faba
Family group to grow with Legumes: French beans, peas
Key nutritional content Fibre, folate, vitamin C
Seed saving notes Annual, can cross pollinate