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How to Grow Broad Beans

Broad Beans
Remains of Broad Beans have been found in Israel which date back to 6,500 BC. This makes the humble bean one of the earliest vegetables to be cultivated.

They are extremely easy to grow and produce a crop as early as mid-June. Useful, because not many vegetables are available in the garden at that time of year.

Fresh broad beans are extremely nutritious and high in protein. The Egyptians believed that when a person died his soul temporarily resided in a broad bean prior to passing into the next life.


Latin Name
Vicia Faba

Hardy annual.

Site and Soil
Good draining soil. Full sun

Plant to Harvest Time
14 weeks.

Average of 5kg (11lb) for each 3m (10ft) row.

Favism is a disease where the intake of some beans (Broad beans included) cause the red blood cells to die quicker than normal. Around 20% of the population of Africa have this condition as do many of the Mediterranean population.
Click here for a site that explains this disease in much more detail.

Broad Beans are very tolerant of the soil they grow in. They prefer a deep free draining soil. Most soils however are perfectly adequate for broad beans although they will not stand being water-logged.

They prefer a sunny site which is not exposed to high winds. Most varieties will grow to about 1.2m (4ft) and they form a dense barrier of foliage. So consider the impact that the shade they will cast will have on plants growing nearby.

Broad beans are very frost hardy and will germinate in a soil temperature as low as 2�C (35�F). Sowing time is around late March in . However if your soil is free draining they can sown in early autumn when the weather is cooling down. This will give a crop about three weeks earlier than a spring sowing.

A week or so before sowing the seed add a nitrogen feed to the soil. Although Broad Beans produce their own nitrogen in little nodules along the roots, this does not happen until the plants begin to grow strongly. So a little extra nitrogen at the beginning will get them off to a good start.

Dig out a drill in the soil to a depth of 6cm (2in) and 20cm (8in) wide. Sow the seed in two rows, one row down one side of the drill, the other row down the other side. Each bean in a row should be spaced 25cm (10in) apart from the next bean. The simple diagram below illustrates.

If more than one double row is required, leave 60cm (2ft) between each double row. Cover the beans with the soil and water in well if conditions are dry.


Name: Megan
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 20, 2011 - 01:20 am
Message: How does different types of soil affect a broad beans plant growth and health
Thanx please answer by wednesday

Name: fran taylor
Date posted: September 03, 2011 - 05:05 pm
Message: My broad beans have loads of flowers very healthy but no beans
WHY no beans ????
many thanks FRAN

Name: Alec Cass
Date posted: July 21, 2011 - 06:07 am
Message: Having harvested my broad beans, I have the plants and roots to dig up. Can I recycle the above for use in the garden?

Name: Andrew Case
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 10, 2011 - 09:37 am
Message: when to cultivate broad beans ie at what size?.

Name: gardening expert
Date posted: June 24, 2011 - 08:06 am
Message: charmein, you must by some green paint - this contains cholophyll and by painting the yellow leaves will cure your problem.

Name: K.Towers
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 22, 2011 - 08:16 am
Message: Do you have to take side shoots off

Name: charmein
Date posted: May 19, 2011 - 04:29 am
Message: My broad beans are growing but not forming a bush. Some of the leaves are going yellow. They get sun. What shall I do.

Thanking you

Name: caz
E-mail: Private
Date posted: May 07, 2011 - 02:23 am
Message: rff

Name: engkihov
Date posted: November 06, 2010 - 01:02 pm
Message: I want to know, how to grow broad beans good in my garden?

Name: divinne
Date posted: November 01, 2010 - 01:03 pm
Message: if i am leaving in a swam how can i grow broad beans, what is the best time to plant. what can be a specification of broad beans, just in case i want to buy good seeds to plan or even to consume?i will be very glad to get more info about this

Name: Chris Godfrey
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 29, 2010 - 04:02 am
Message: We have always planted our broad bean seed in November and have produced bountiful crops of beans in the spring. The autumn sowing prevents black fly attack. The method I have adopted, which I had learnt from my late father in law, was to make a hole about 4" deep with a dibber and place two beans into the hole. This ensures that one will at least germinate and when they both grow they help to support each other in windy conditions.

Name: Brigid Smyth
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 28, 2010 - 11:56 am
Message: I read that broadbeans are best sown in early winter rather than autumn. When would early winter start as opposed to late autumn. I live in SW Ireland and am liming the soil for the first time in about 4 years. The ground is well drained but we do have a lot of rain 'though it generally never gets more than 4 deg. frost (except for last year when we got 9 degrees). How much lime should one apply - also for asparagus. Many thanks. Brigid Smyth