Allotment Crops - How To Grow Broad Beans - Fava Beans
Allotment Growing - how to grow broad beans - ground preparation - sowing in spring or autumn - growing - harvesting - storing and using the crop
Broad Beans - also known as Fava Beans - are a wonderful crop. Relatively easy to grow - they can produce an abundant crop of delicious beans.
Broad Beans are also easy to harvest and store. They can be eaten fresh - lightly cooked or in salads. They freeze well - and can also be dried for later use in soups and stews.
They can be sown in late Autumn or early Spring.
Autumn sown Broad Beans produce one of the first Spring crops on the allotment.- in mid to late May if the weather is kind. A real joy to bring home after a hard Winter - and when few other crops are ready to harvest.
Spring sown Broad Beans - sown in March - will grow on quickly and may deliver a crop as early as June.
For Autumn sowing and growing It is important to use the correct variety - as some will only grow well if sown in Spring. Good reliable Autumn varieties are Aquadulce Claudia (my personal and reliable favourite) and The Sutton. Spring varieties include Bunyard's Exhibition, Dreadnought and Imperial Green Longpod.
I like to have something growing on the allotment through Winter - it gives me something to look forward to and cheers me up through the dreary months.
Sowing Broad Beans - Fava Beans
Prepare the ground by hoeing out any weeds and levelling with a rake. If sowing in Autumn You might also dig a Bean Trench first to provide additional fertility and to promote growth. In Spring you might also add a few handfuls of pelleted chicken manure fertiliser.
Mark out the rows with string - two double rows about 18 inches apart. Use a dibber to make a hole 2 inches deep, drop a seed in and cover with soil. Use a tape measure to set a gap of about 8 inches then plant the next seed. Continue sowing to the end of the row and then repeat for the other rows.
Finally water in well and add a plant label with details of the seed and date. It might be worth repeating the watering after a few days if you happen to have a dry spell of weather and you have (like me) well draining soil.
The seeds should germinate in 2 to 3 weeks - depending on the weather. They will survive in most weather conditions - but If you are expecting heavy frosts you might protect the young plants with fleece or a cloche.
Growing Broad Beans - Gallery - click on any image to enlarge