Tuesday 24 June 2014

Broad Bean "Stereo"

This past week I harvested the first of my "Stereo" Broad Beans.

"Stereo" seems to be almost universally described as an "unusual" type of Broad Bean. In fact I have concluded that most businesses that sell this bean have started with exactly the same piece of text, and just altered one or two words! By unusual I think they mean "small". The Stereo variety produces plants that are smaller and thinner than any other variety I have grown. Height at maturity is about 4 feet.

The flowers are also unusual in that they are plain white rather than the usual bi-colour.

 When the pods set they point upwards:

The pods never get very big - only about 10 or 12cm long.

They usually contain 4 or 5 beans:

The beans are small, green and very uniform in size:

I found that they cook incredibly quickly - literally about 2 to 3 minutes. The cooking process made them go an even brighter shade of green. I'll describe how we ate them in another blogpost in a day or two.

I have been researching Broad Beans in general, and I was intrigued to see several websites advocating picking pods regularly (e.g. 2 to 3 times a week) to stimulate the production of further pods. Now, I have been growing these things for years and I have always found that the flowers (and hence pods) all come at more or less the same time. Occasionally you get a small second flush if you cut the stalks right down and let them re-generate. Could it be that these people are assuming that Broad Beans operate the same way as Runner Beans or French Beans? What is your opinion?


  1. Your broad beans look so healthy. I have never plant broad bean. I think it needs much cooler temperature. I've ever seen a type of broad bean were grown on high land tropics. The beans grew so well. Maybe I should try to plant it on my garden and make any modification on the microclimate.

  2. I've only grown them a couple of times as I prefer other types of beans, but my experience of how they're produced is the same as yours. They didn't seem to produce more pods by regular picking.

  3. These look great and I'm sure they taste delicious. I've always found the same as you they flower and then produce pods. The flowers go up the stems and mature in order. I've never noticed new flowers coming on the main stem. They are one of my favourite crops- short and sweet.

  4. We had a disaster with the dwarf broad beans as the cold frame got left on one morning and the poor things got baked. So I did my best to tidy them up and they are a mass of bloom now but only a foot high. They branched out incredibly though and like your Stereo, the pods are smallish. Well I only have two pods to go by as yet Mark!! Yours look fantastic and I love that you wrote and took photos of progression.

  5. I've never had favas repeat bloom. They bloom they produce and I rip them out. But then again I've never let them stay in long enough to find out. I'm supposed to be planting fall carrots once they are done and those need to get in the ground in a few weeks.

  6. I'm hoping to harvest some of mine at the weekend, your brad beans are looking very healthy.


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