Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Broad Beans - at last!

The long-awaited moment has arrived. I have harvested my first Broad Beans of the year.

This usually signals the start of a period of plenty in my garden, after the leaner times earlier in the year.
Talking of signalling. My beans have taken up the art of Semaphore signalling. When the pods, which were previously upright, are ready, they drop downwards.

Do any of you know Semaphore? (I don't - I had to look it up). My beans are obviously not experts at it because they are signalling the letter "P" ! (Get it?)

This picture shows the downward movement well. The pods at the top of the plant (which formed slightly later) are still upright, whereas the ones lower down have already fallen.

It must be because of the huge weight of beans inside those pods... (positive thoughts never do any harm!)

Well, the Blackfly have evidently been waiting for a turn to suck the lovely sap. You can tell they're British blackflies, can't you - forming an orderly queue?

I suppose it is easier for them to suck the sap along the seams of the pod rather than elsewhere.

A few blackflies are not going to prevent me getting a nice harvest though. Those beans are well-protected in their fluffy fleece coccoons.

This first harvest is not very big - but it's the sweetest in more ways than one.

The beans were used in a"vegetable garden medley" with peas and kohlrabi, alongside some "Anya" potatoes, as an accompaniment to a chicken and mushroom pie that Jane made:


Definitely worth the wait!


  1. Great hint about the pods dropping. Now I know I've got a couple of days to still to wait!

  2. I was looking at my beans today thinking 'how do I tell when they're ready?'. Now I know! Another week methinks!

  3. I imagine it tasted as good as it looked

  4. Hooray for broad beans - I always wait till mine drop too. You meal looks scrummy.

  5. Still a bit of a wait in North Lancashire for the broads beans.I have 5 varieties on the go ,as it's one of my favourite veg.When they mature I get into serious bean,potato,chard mode.
    Have never seen blackfly on the actual bean pod before!Does this do any damage?
    Do any of you eat the small pods ,as this seems odd to me and I'd rather wait for the beans?

  6. British blackflies - lol. Your photos are really good, the blackfly photo is really interesting. Your dinner and vegetable garden medley looks delicious and has made me very hungry! P.S. I have turnip and radish that have turned out like the radish in your last post. This isn't the easiest of years for growing veg!

  7. My goodness, it has been a learning curve with these broadbeans !! Thanks so much! You described it so well, about the bean falling forward. I read about this only after I had picked about six early ones and the beans were delicious..but not really big like they are now. Yes, they drop down and you are right..fat wonderful beans inside!!! Had them tonight in fact. Now wish I had planted more but next year will.

    British Blackfly indeed..well yours are over here queued up as well!! BIG GRIN!

  8. I didn't know about the pods dropping, I shall check mine, but I think I have a few ready. Your photo of the opened pod with the beans in their fluffy fleece cocoon reminds me of the song Cauliflowers Fluffy and Cabages Green, with the line Broad Beans are Sleeping In Their Blankety Bed which the kids used to sing at harvest time at school.

  9. We had our first beans last week too - maybe those blackfly are trying to opem the pod to get at the beans,

  10. I do love broad beans , now I just have to be patient and hopefully I too will have some lovely meals. That pie looks delicious by the way.

  11. I'm a fellow broad bean grower and blackfly hater. I feel your joy and your pain. I have a mix of garlic and fairy liquid that I spray on to the beans. I just don't know how they ALWAYS find the beans!

  12. Not so familiar with the broad beans here. They look good and that Pie looks fabulous!


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