How we grow Broadbeans

By | February 5, 2011

Broadbean plants

Broadbeans January 2011

These are some plants we have growing in the glasshouses at the moment.  The variety we grow are Aquadulce which are good for an autumn sowing like these and were planted out in November. However you can still get them started in modules as in the photo 2 posts down now.

Because these are heavy croppers and because in our conditions they grow quite tall ( 4-5 feet) we’ve found it useful to support them using netting. This is stretched across the bed at a height of about 6 ” or 15-20 cm. When the plants get taller we put another layer in at about 45-50cm.

We start off with the netting on the ground and plant out the bean seedlings through the holes. This year at the urging of our work experience intern from Kenya, the guys have gone back to a tighter spacing as I originally used.  This means that this year the beans are about 30 cm apart in rows with about 20 cm spacing between rows (the plants being staggered so that they have a bit of space.  Generally you get a higher yield per unit area if the plants are tighter spaced. More general information on Plant Spacing here.

Broadbean beds under glass

Broadbean beds

This is what the beds look like in a longer shot. We tend to use alternate beds and here the infill beds are chard which are a standby for us. Quite often, however we interplant with Garlic which has a mild insecticide and fungicide effect.

As organic growers we like to move the plants about so that we can minimise the build up of disease. The houses are a bit prone to botrytis and red spider mite while broadbeans are martyrs to black fly.

Fortunately we use the predators we resell via and this generally keeps things under control. However you still have to pinch out the tops of the beans. And keep harvesting them when they come through:)

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