Broad beans can provide bountiful harvests in a very short season. Growing Broad Beans: Growing Broad Beans in late autumn in a cold frame, either inside a polytunnel or above ground in a cold frame, can be your first vegetables to plug that year's 'hungry gap'. These can be planted in spring, without protection, in preparation for an array of summer crops. In addition to filling that gap with tasty, new vegetables, these plants will also provide some valuable winter hardening cover against heavy rainfall.
Planting Choosing When Broad Beans Seeds Are Sown The best time to plant Broad Beans seeds depends on the variety. Some varieties need to be sown in early spring, while others need to be sown in late winter or early spring. For example, African-Landed Broad Beans, which is native to eastern India and Sri Lanka, need to be sown in June, while Purple Broad Beans, which can tolerate some frost, should be sown in late summer or early fall. So if you're planning to grow these in your own garden, there's no reason why you shouldn't plant them at the right time!
Planting Techniques The various ways to plant Broad Beans is dependent on whether they're planted in a frame or in containers. If you want to plant them in a frame, the most common technique is to group two or three plants of similar size and shape together in a tall narrow hole made of either wood or wire. Small pieces of wood, covered with a damp cloth, are used to create a sort of womb to shelter the seeds. Another method of container planting is to group Broad Beans in small bundles, some six to eight inches wide, in a tight-fitting glass or plastic seed packages tied onto a board or stick.
How To Make The Pods If you choose to plant Broad Beans seeds in pots, the most convenient technique is to use large popcorn strings tied onto a long branch. If you prefer a different look, you can paint a design on the outside of the pods using tape or paints. The seeds will pop out easily and the design will remain intact for months. This is a good option for growing Broad Beans in your garden if you plan on harvesting them later.
Planting Types There are a number of different techniques for planting Broad Beans, but the best method is to group plants of roughly equal sizes together. Plant seeds should be spread across the surface and after the weather turns warm, they should be kept in an enclosed environment. This will ensure that the Broad Beans seeds don't get contaminated during transit. This is a simple matter of using reusable bags or tins and covering the seeds with newspapers or other absorbent materials before placing them in the ground. Be careful not to put too much of the beans in one spot or else the plants may overlap and spread over the seed. You will probably have to move several plants around before they germinate and grow, but this is the easiest way to get started.
Seedlings When you're ready to harvest the plants from the pods, there are a number of different methods for cutting the Broad Beans seeds out of the pods. One method uses a sharp knife to remove the seeds from the pod. This can be accomplished using the stem of the knife as the handle, or using a pair of shears. The advantage to this method is that the Broad Beans seeds don't get caught up in the husk.
Harvesting The beans should be removed immediately after they are plucked, but some species of Broad Beans may have seeds inside the pod if they have been stored for awhile. Once the seeds are removed, wrap the bean in a damp cloth to prevent the beans from drying out. Place them in a shallow pot with a few inches of water to help with expansion. Keeping them in a moist environment will also encourage germination, so keep your potted plants in a sunny window or in a shady area.
Planting Seeds There are many ways to plant Broad Beans, depending on whether you're planting seeds indoors or outdoors. Growing indoors is easier, since the indoor plant can be started in pots before being transplanted outdoors. The indoors are then divided into three separate pots, one larger than the others. Careful watering and careful handling should be observed for seeds that didn't make it through the first year.