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Grow Broad Beans to Eat and Help Improve Your Soil

Posted February 06, 2022

In mid-spring when there is little to harvest in the garden, broad beans are one of the first crops to harvest. They are planted from late fall to early winter for an early crop or spring time for a late spring harvest. They are easy to grow, and maturing early means that they can be replaced with summer crops.  

Broad beans are also know as favs or horse beans.

Broad beans are excellent for the soil! They are useful for growing as a cover crop in the winter to prevent soil erosion and provide nitrogen for following crops. Once the Broad Beans have been cleared, work in or add them to the compost pile and follow up with crops such as kale, Swiss chard or other greens as they will enjoy the nitrogen provide by the beans.  

Sow seeds into small pots under cover or directly outside, 2 inches deep and spaced 6-8 inches apart. Once they are established and start to grow strongly, broad beans need only minimal care, other than regular watering during dry spells.  Provide support while they are still small, running stakes and string along the rows. Heavily laden plants can topple over. When harvesting broad beans, pick from the bottom first and work your way up the stem as beans mature.  

Tip: Pinching off the growing tips when the first flowers appear helps to deter black fly and encourages the pods to develop.

Broad beans are delicious, especially when picked and enjoyed young, but they can be allowed to mature and use as a dry bean that is great in soups. We love them best young and in salads! 


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