A very easy to grow and popular heritage Broad Bean which has lovely texture and flavour. As one of the hardiest broad beans it can be sown from autumn through to spring, and, as it establishes itself very quickly will produce you a very early crop. Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
|When to sow
|Late October to December ( for an early summer crop) or February to April ( for a later summer crop). If your ground is frozen in February sow indoors in pots and plant out in March and April.
|Where to sow
|Sow either in double rows 5cm (2in.) deep, 23cm (9in.) apart in the row with a distance of 60cm (24in.) from next set of double rows or in single rows with 45cm (18in) between rows. Sow a few extra seeds at the end of each row for transplant in case there are any failures.
|What to do Next
|As the beans get taller they will require supporting. The best way to provide this is to use stakes and string to construct a narrow box like structure around each row. This will provide enough support, when they are being blown around by wind, but will be loose enough to allow the beans to grow without damaging their stalks. As the plant grows taller, more levels of string can be added to provide additional support if required. Pinch out the little cluster of leaves at the top of the plant, when in full flower, as this should give you a heavier crop as the plant transfers energy into pod and bean production. It will also discourage black fly as they love the tender green shoots. As soon as the first pods appear ensure the beans are well watered around the base of the plant during dry periods.
|May to July - Harvest 8 to 10 weeks from spring sowing when beans have begun to visibly swell inside. Regular picking (ideally 2 or 3 times a week) will keep production going for about 4 to 6 weeks. Harvest plants in stages, starting with the lowest pod first; small beans are sweeter and more tender that large ones. Pods can also be picked when they are immature to be cooked and eaten whole.
|To remove the pods from the plant, give them a sharp twist in a downward direction. Bean plants are nitrogen fixers. When cropping is over, cut plants down and dig in as a green manure.
|Sweet Peas, Nasturtiums to encourage bees to pollinate.
|Vitamins A, C and E and Protein.
|Harvested from plot to plate in minutes serve either simply with a knob of butter after lightly boiling for 2 minutes or as a base of a humous, risotto or in a salad mixed with Feta and Bacon. For the best flavour, pick the beans when they are starting to show through the pod while the scar on the end of the beans is still white or green (although they can still be enjoyed after the scar has turned black).
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