Broad beans can be harvested throughout late Spring and early Summer. Flowers and pods are ready to harvest within 3 to 4 months of sowing.
Vicia faba is an annual species from the Fabaceae family, commonly known by the names Broad Bean, Faba Bean and Fava Bean, amongst many others. Preferring cool and moist conditions, this bean makes a reliable winter crop. Establishing itself very quickly, it is an ideal variety for children to grow. The glossy plump pods produce tender meaty white beans, that when cooked have a lovely creamy texture. Broad beans are part of the legume family, adding Nitrogen to the area planted with the help of mycorrhizal organisms. It serves as a soil conditioner for new soils or depleted areas and is important in the rotation of vegetable beds. The Greeks and Romans used the broad bean for balloting, black seeds to signify opposition and white seeds agreement. This custom lingered in England in the election of the king and queen for Twelfth Night, where a bean was baked into a cake, and the man in whose portion it was found became King of the Bean and leader of the celebrations for the night.
Soak beans between 2-3 hours. Sow during autumn and winter. Space each seed 20 cm apart and plant to a depth of 25 mm. The average germination time is 10 days.
The bean is Nitrogen fixing, therefore broccoli, kale or cabbage are an ideal next crop.
Used in a variety of dishes as well as being eaten boiled.
Plant in September to November to grow over-winter. Dig back into the top 15 cm (6") of soil before the flowers begin to appear and allow to decompose for two to three weeks before planting the next crop.