Broad beans produce large broad pods filled with succulent, wonderfully flavoured beans. They are usually available as white or green seeded varieties and each colour has a slightly different flavour. There are also dwarf varieties suitable for more exposed windy locations and autumn sowing varieties for earlier harvests in spring.

Hints and Tips

• If the soil is poor, light and sandy, has a low pH or you are growing in containers, it is well worth

using a pea and bean booster inoculant that provides high numbers of beneficial bacteria to the soil. The friendly bacteria help the peas and beans ‘fix’ the large amounts of nitrogen they need from the air, so they can produce the best possible crops.

• Broad beans are best sown in staggered double rows to make the best use of space.

• Seeds germinate most readily in cool (but frost free) conditions, avoid sowing seeds indoors in overly warm rooms or greenhouses.

• Tall plants may benefit from staking in exposed or windy locations. When the first pods appear it is best to pinch out the growing tip at the very top of the plants, to help deter blackfly and help the pods to fill.

• Pods should be picked from the bottom of the plant upwards.


Broad beans and peas are usually best sown directly into prepared soil in their growing position.

Dwarf, climbing and runner beans benefit from being sown indoors earlier than sowing outdoors would allow. Beans are generally very productive and as a result can be rather hungry and thirsty plants so they need plenty of water and nutrients. They thrive in a sunny and sheltered position in fertile, moisture retentive soil. Dwarf varieties are often a good choice for exposed locations. Wigwams of tall canes, netting or other support need to be put in place for climbing varieties to grow up.


The soil should have plenty of organic matter dug in to provide nutrients and help retain moisture.

When sowing outdoors directly into the soil it is good practice to sow two seeds per station to help ensure a strong plant in each location. Young plants will require protection from birds with suitable

netting or fleece. When sowing indoors make certain the pots or trays are clean and be sure to use fresh seed compost.

To aid germination the trays should be kept at approx. 15-20°C and covered with glass, polythene or

a propagator lid to help keep the compost moist. Remove the cover when seedlings appear. Don’t

forget to use a label to identify the variety sown.


Once seedlings sown outdoors are large enough to handle they need to be thinned out, removing the weaker seedlings and leaving the stronger ones the room they need to grow on. Ensure the soil is kept moist (but not wet) and weed free. Seedlings raised indoors can be planted out when they’re large enough to handle. Always hold seedlings by a leaf so you don’t risk crushing the stem. Before planting out, young plants must be acclimatised to outside conditions by being placed in a sheltered location for a few hours during the day. The time spent outside should gradually be increased over the next two weeks (avoid frosts). They can then be planted out to their final growing position at the spacing indicated on the packet.


Many varieties can be sown early and re-sown later in the season to give the longest possible harvest period. Early sowings may benefit from cloche protection. Most peas and beans are best if picked when young and regular picking will encourage further cropping. In hot weather misting the flowers with tepid water can help the pods to set. Please see the back of the seed packets for more specific growing instructions


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