Growing Broad Bean
Sowing season: March – April
Ready to harvest: 16 weeks
Broad beans are some of the easiest peas to grow and are quite hardy. Making them ideal for beginner growers.
How to grow Broad Beans in Ireland.
It is not necessary to begin your seeds indoors. However, it does give the advantage of the seedling getting established, as slugs can destroy small seedlings. If starting inside, fill a toilet roll tube with compost and poke a seed about 2 inches deep. Leave to grow on a warm sunny windowsill.
After a month you can transplant your seedlings outdoors. Begin by hardening off the plants for a week. Then you can dig holes the same size as the tube and put the tube directly into the ground (the cardboard will decompose in the soil).
Sow in rows with 15cm (6 inches) between each plant and 45cm (18 inches) between rows.
From early March, broad bean can be planted outdoors. Sow the seeds 15 cm (6 inches) apart in rows 45cm (18 inches) apart. With your finger poke the seed 5cm (2 inches) deep.
Broad beans can be harvested at two stages. You can harvest when the pods are around 2 inches, where you can eat them whole. Alternatively, wait for the pods to reach 5 – 6 inches. Once the pods are this size they are easier to shell and extract the beans.
To harvest the pods twist and pull from the plant.
As with most beans and peas, broad bean plants will need support to help grow tall and strong. You can put a branch in each corner and run twine around the supports at varying heights.
Aphids love broad beans but can destroy your crop. A good natural way to control aphids is by attracting ladybirds. Ladybirds are natural predators of aphids and can be easily attracted by planting lavender, dill, or thyme close by.