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Broad Beans


Ease of Growing [Scale 1-5] - 1 (Easy)

How Time Consuming

Fairly low maintenance, just need to be staked when 10cm/4” tall, tips pinched out and kept weed free.

Recommended Varieties   

  • Organic ‘Super Aquadulce’ – good variety for sowing in mid to late Autumn for early harvest in Spring. Winter hardy.
  • ‘Sutton’ – Popular dwarf variety, good for smaller gardens, prolific cropper and ideal for exposed sites and containers.

Home Grown Vs Supermarket

Always home grown, commercial growers tend to leave the beans too long before harvesting becoming big and shelly when cooked.

Best Sites and Soils

Grow in a sunny sheltered site in well drained fertile soil. They need protection from wind and staking to support the weight of the growing pods. 

When to sow

Can be sown in rootrainers in late autumn to have young plants (8cm/3” high) ready for hardening off and planting out in early to mid Spring. Alternatively, sow seed outside in early spring (depending on weather). If soil temperature is low use polythene to cover and aid germination.
Successional sowings are advised to prolong the harvest.  When previous sowing has reached a height of 15-20cm (6-8”) the next crop can be sown.
Distance between rows - Double rows 23cm/9” apart.
Distance between plants - 23cm / 9” apart.

When to harvest

Harvest when young when the beans are beginning to show through the pod not bursting out.  If you leave them longer they will become tough and will need to be double shelled to be enjoyed.

Meet the Author: Jo Blackwell
Jo  Blackwell

Jo Blackwell is new on the Harrod Horticultural block and has recently taken over her post as Horticultural Advisor and Kitchen Gardener in Stephanie's Kitchen Garden. She caught the gardening bug when she bought her first home 18 years ago.  Her first greenhouse soon followed and she later gained an allotment, where she grows her own organic fruit and vegetables.


Further Information

Watering / Feeding: Broad beans should not be over watered but the soil kept moist and watered just before the soil dries out.
If plants have been grown in well drained fertile soil no additional feeding is necessary.


Guide to sowing and planting : Easy to sow, large seeds just need to be pushed in the ground approx. 5cm/2” deep or if growing undercover sow one seed per pot or Rootrainer.
When the plants have grown 4 or 5 clusters of bean pods pinch out the top of the growing tip to encourage the pods to swell.


Problems to look out for : The major problem will be the black bean aphid, the black flies will appear on the growing tips at the end of spring and increase during the summer.  Pinching out the tips (as described above) will help prevent severe attacks of black fly.


How to harvest by type : Pick pods from the base of the plant and work up the plant using scissors or secateurs.

Storing : Can be stored in the fridge for a few days but best eaten fresh.   Broad beans freeze well but need to be blanched first.

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