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How to grow broad beans

How to grow broad beans

Broad beans are easy to grow, and they taste great as well! There are lots of different varieties that you can try, from the traditional green beans to yellow-podded ones. We think the yellow-podded ones look gorgeous in salads or stir fries, but you can use any kind of bean that takes your fancy!

Know your climate

Broad beans are a cool-season crop, and you should plant them in the spring or fall. They thrive in warm, sunny spots, so if your garden is in a shaded area and/or prone to frosty nights, it may not be the best place for broad beans.

Broad beans need fertile soil that drains well. If your soil is heavy or has poor drainage, add organic matter like compost or peat moss to improve its texture and structure before planting.

Broad beans are very frost-tender; they should not be grown if temperatures are expected below -4 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pick a suitable variety

When you're choosing a variety to grow, think about the following factors:

  • Climate. Beans prefer warm, sunny days and cool nights. If your climate is too hot or too cold for them to thrive, then choose a variety that will work better in your conditions.

  • Taste. Some varieties of beans are sweeter than others; some have a nuttier flavor while still others have more of an earthy taste. Choose one that pleases your palate! (Or choose several!)

  • Soil quality and growing conditions. Are there insects that like to attack broad beans? Or do you think broad beans will be able to handle the shade from nearby trees? Is moisture easy or difficult for you to come by during dry spells? Consider these questions before deciding which variety of bean is best for your garden!

  • Time constraints: Some people want plants that produce little pods quickly so they can enjoy fresh green peas in June instead of waiting until August when other varieties finally ripen their pods after many months spent growing underground

Space plants properly

Be sure to plant your broad beans at least 20cm apart, and allow them room to grow. If they're planted too close together they'll be stunted, while planting them too far apart will cause them to be spindly.


Whilst broad beans are an easy crop to grow and maintain, it is important to avoid growing them in the same spot every year as this can lead to disease building up in the soil. This is why we recommend rotating your crops so that you don't get bored with growing broad beans.

If you're looking for a new way to grow broad beans next time, try planting them at different times of year by sowing seeds indoors or starting plants off early outdoors before planting them out.

Protect your plants from birds with netting.

If you want your broad beans to bear fruit, you’re going to have to protect them from birds. Birds are attracted to the flowers, which means that they can eat the seeds before they mature. They can also eat the pods and leaves, if they haven’t already been eaten by slugs or snails (more on these later).

The best way to prevent this is by using netting over your plants. Netting can be bought in different widths and lengths depending on how many plants you want to cover—and it will help keep out other pests like slugs too!

Water appropriately

Watering is one of the most important things you’ll do with your broad beans. You need to water regularly, but not too much and never at night.

Watering in windy weather may also cause problems for your plants, so it is best to avoid doing this during strong winds or storms – especially if they have been predicted.

Keep picking the pods throughout the season

Broad bean pods can be picked when they are young and tender, but you should wait until the seeds have formed into a dark brown colour before harvesting. If you pick too early, they will not develop their full flavour.

Nitrogen-fixing companions

Broad beans are a legume, so they can be grown with other nitrogen-fixing plants such as clover and vetch. These crops can be sown in amongst broad beans and other vegetables, or you can grow them in a separate bed. Since they are nitrogen fixers, they will improve the soil quality over time as they grow and die off. This can help produce healthier plants that have a better yield. After harvest, you can pull up your plants with the broad beans and use them as mulch around other veggies like carrots or lettuces.

Harvest at the correct time

Although it may be tempting to harvest your broad beans when they’re big and green, you should wait until the pod has reached maturity.

When they are young, the pods are still tender and will cook more quickly than if you were to wait until they become yellow or brown. The seeds inside will also be smaller and easier to eat once they have been cooked.

The best time to pick broad beans is after most of them have ripened but before all of them have turned yellow.