Yesterday I popped some broad bean seeds (or fava beans as they’re also known) into a raised bed, just 2 rows because I’m the only one in my family who likes them. Broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ are a hardy variety which are perfect for direct sowing in autumn if the soil isn’t frozen or water-logged.
The reason for sowing broad beans in autumn is to get an earlier crop and avoid blackfly. In my experience I get a few weeks head start at most before the spring sown beans start producing, therefore I mainly sow in autumn to enjoy the anticipation of seedlings bursting into life through the soil, while everything else around them is taken by winters firm grip. Even so, it still feels so strange to plant seeds outside late November.
As already mentioned I’m the only one in my family who likes broad beans, I can’t even give them away at the allotment sometimes. I guess they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, there are better tasting beans to grow it’s true but I’ll always give them a spot on the plot! Below are my 5 reasons to grow broad beans:
1. They’re as tough as old boots. Sow the seeds in autumn and cheer them on through winter when little else will brave it, they will tough it out adding interest and a splash of green to your allotment or garden.
2. The flowers are like tiny orchids. I prefer the black and white flowered varieties to the pink/reds, also, how many other flowers are actually black and white?
3. They laugh in Jack Frost’s face. A hard frost will strike them down and they will look pretty sorry for themselves, you may even fall for their ‘play dead’ act but don’t worry, they will magically spring back up as they thaw and keep going as if nothing happened. Absolutely amazing.
4. The flowers smell DIVINE. If you’ve never sniffed one, you haven’t lived. Go do it.
5. The pods are seriously fluffy inside. Who else can’t resist a quick stroke of the pod fluff?
I hope this post has inspired you to sow some broad beans this autumn!