Sowing Broad Beans – A great crop for beginners.

I once made wine from broad beans.

It was horrendous. The colour of urine and a taste I can only imagine of antifreeze. It would get you drunk though.

As a child, I wasn’t so keen on broad beans. Maybe it was the way they were often presented to me on the dinner plate. Boiled, grey and hard as little pebbles. A dollop of salted butter and a good twist of black pepper made them palatable. However, they never excited me and I found them dour.

I grew broad beans on my first allotment. Mainly because they are a traditional allotment garden crop and perfect for beginners as they are so easy to grow. They germinate well and require little in terms of ongoing maintenance. This legume is hardy too and varieties such as Aquadulce Claudia are often sown in the autumn to over winter.

If you consider it, they appear to be a vegetable that lacks popularity. A veg for a previous generation. Maybe it’s time to change this perspective and as I salivate over the pages of Nigel Slater’s recipes for broad beans in his delicious kitchen garden book, Tender, I certainly plan on doing so in our household. I hope others take the same direction too.

It’s February and the itch to sow and grow is getting even stronger. Spring is on the horizon but it’s still too soon to sow many crops out on the plot. Despite the chill and gloom the month is throwing in our direction, there is some positive change for us to embrace. Light.

Daylight has now increased to ten hours and although the temperatures are still low, the light level is a huge benefit to enable some crops to be sown in the later stages of the month. But only those suitable for the cooler season. Luckily, broad beans are one of those crops.

Those lovely people at Dobies have provided me with the opportunity this year to grow a modern variety of broad bean called Listra. I’m sowing a few seeds this month and will sow again in a few weeks to allow a successional crop of the beans in early summer.

Listra broad bean

Listra broad bean

Listra broad bean

As I did with the sweet peas last month, I’m using toilet roll tubes as pots to sow the broad beans and then keep in the mini greenhouse in the garden. I was surprised how long broad bean roots are, and so the tubes are very useful to facilitate this growth.

Fill the tubes with seed compost and push each bean in. Cover them with a pinch more compost and water in thoroughly.

toilet roll seed pots

toilet roll seed pots

toilet roll seed pots

I’m excited to grow broad beans again. They are an easy crop to grow and I can’t wait to use them in some delicious recipes in the kitchen this year.

What about you? Are broad beans a staple in your kitchen garden or are they something you’ve not grown before? Let me know in the comments below.


Dobies have gifted me the seeds. All words and opinions are my own.


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