Broad Beans, more commonly known as Lima beans, is a family of legumes with varied uses. Growing Broad Beans: Growing Broad Beans can be one of the most rewarding winter crops for the kitchen gardener, as they can tolerate frosts and early springs better than most other vegetables. They're an excellent choice for soups and stews, beans can be used in chili, stews and salads. Broad beans can even be harvested with the skin on, although this is a tougher crop to grow. Planting Broad Beans in Autumn under a tarpaulin in a warm frame or below cloches can prove to be the first of many fine winter crops.
Planting Broad Beans in Autumn under a tarpaulin in the warm frame is a great way to protect the seed from the elements while your Broad Beans is still dormant. You can harvest late autumn or early winter, depending on the soil conditions. Those sown in fall without protection can also be a useful addition to a backyard garden. These sown beans still carry Broad Bean seeds, so if you don't have them yet, don't despair, there are ways to artificially create your own Broad Beans in your garden.
Planting Seed Pod Ready-to-Sow Broad Beans Seeds: If you've bought your Broad Beans at the supermarket, then they probably came in small packets of large seed pods, which can sometimes be an unpleasant smell when you get them home. Although some people like the smell, others find the smelly pods disgusting. Seed pods can now easily be reused by planting small amounts of seed directly into a new bed of your garden's soil, these seed pods will germinate and sprout very quickly and provide you with your own ready-to-sow Broad Beans.
To plant these new Young seedlings, dig out your garden soil and add some compost and bone meal. Keep in mind that the young seedlings are likely to be damp, so water well and plant carefully so that you don't compact the soil too much. When the Broad Beans sprouts, spread them out as far as possible. Now dig up your old pods and carefully remove the seeds. Place them in your compost bin or any container that has a tight fitting lid, and turn regularly to ensure the soil is damp but not wet. In winter, the soil should be turned once every few weeks to allow it to drain.
Once the Broad Beans has sprouted, transfer them to a protective container and cover loosely with a plastic bag. In early spring, allow the beans to begin to bloom, removing the plastic bag as soon as it starts to dry out. As the plants start to flower, remove the plastic bags and spread the Broad Beans seeds on top of the flowers, allowing them to grow until there is plenty of space between them for air to circulate. In early summer, remove the bag and spread the seeds over the soil.
Now all that's needed is to start growing! In early spring, pull the pots from their boxes or place them in your garden's outdoor garden area. Be careful to only pull the seeds from the young plants' pots - since the mature beans may be infected with the fungus, it's important not to spread the Broad Bean seeds. It is very important that you wear latex gloves when you handle Broad Beans, since they are quite a bit smaller than Black Eyed Peas. If you need to move the pots around, make sure you wash and scrub them thoroughly before setting them back in their boxes.
Broad Beans can be stored in a refrigerator for up to a month. The longer beans are stored, the less effective they will be. However, if you want to store the seeds for an extended period of time, leave them in the refrigerator until you are ready to harvest.
You can harvest the beans anytime, but it would be more advisable to keep them for two to three weeks instead. When harvesting, you have to be careful not to cut too much off the plant, since the remaining part will continue to grow. The seeds should be removed slowly so that the plant won't suffer from excessive spurt during the process. The plant won't be tall enough to be harvested at once, but it will grow more slowly if the beans are harvested every two weeks.