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.