Broad beans are an easy vegetable to grow and they prefer the cooler season of autumn and winter, they will handle some frost but they need to be in the sun.
Broad beans need a well drained soil with exposure to as much winter sun as you can give them. Prepare the soil a few weeks before hand by adding compost and a generous amount of lime as they like a sweeter soil – dig this though and leave for a week or so before planting.
Broad beans are a big seed that can be planted directly in to the soil; they grow quickly and will need support throughout their growing season.
The easiest is to use a simple structure made out of garden stakes, place a few stakes at intervals down the rows on both sides then using thick twine run this along and around each stake adding more twine up the stakes as the plants grow to form a cage.
Feed during the using a well balanced fertiliser a fertiliser high in nitrogen should be avoided as this will encourage more leaves than flowers.
Once they are growing and are showing a lot of flowers you can pinch out the growing tip to encourage the flowers to set the beans and it will also encourage the plant to bush out giving you a more productive plant.
Young immature pods can be harvested and sliced like French beans.
Harvest the pod when they are young, or they can become hard and woody.
Don’t leave pods on the bush until they harden as this will encourage the plant to cease producing.
The following varieties they have been around for years and continue to prove their worth
Exhibition Long Pod –Grows 1.5m high, harvest in 110 days
Coles Prolific – Grows 1.3 high, harvest in 115 days
Imperial Green-Grows 1.3m high, harvest in 115 days