Whether you’ve been gardening for years or you’re brand new to this magnificent pastime; there will be one thing which sparked your enthusiasm and encouraged you to rip open that first packet of seeds.
For me, it was the wonderful memories of helping my grandad tend to his vegetable garden when I was young. It is this inspiration which spurred me on to sign up for an allotment and get our kids involved, hopefully creating these memories for them along the way too.
One thing which really sticks out in my mind when I look back is sitting in the garden with my grandad on a warm summers evening shelling mountains of homegrown broad beans, which is why I grow this delicious legume today.
Broad beans are such an easy to crop to grow with the optimum time for sowing being in March and April.
You can sow yours directly in your garden or plot, leaving around 20cm between each seed and around 45cm between each row. You can also sow them indoors in an unheated greenhouse, cold frame or even a windowsill.
I’ve sown some of our seeds in used toilet roll tubes which are perfect for growing broad beans in as the height of the tube accommodates the plants’ large root system.
Another great reason for using these normally discarded cardboard tubes is that once your broad beans are ready to be transplanted into the ground, you can bury the whole tube along with your plants as they will biodegrade naturally into the soil. Another added bonus with using this method is that you’re not disturbing the root system during the transplanting process.
Why not have a go at reusing other tubs and containers otherwise destined for the recycling bin to sow your seeds in? Use your imagination and be creative, just ensure to make enough drainage holes in the base of anything you decide to use.
So what’s not to love about growing this fantastic crop?
They are easy to sow, making them perfect for children to have a go at. They are extremely low-maintenance, only requiring a few bamboo canes for support as the plants mature, and will only require a little weeding and watering throughout the season.
Remember to keep picking those bean pods to stimulate your plant into producing lots more so you have a continuous supply throughout summer.
Also, don’t forget towards the end of the season to store a few of those pods so you can save the seed and keep on enjoying this fabulous crop year after year.