Sunday 12 March 2017

Planting Broad Beans

Having got my Onions planted, I have now done the same with my first batch of Broad Beans. Like the Onion sets, they had been raised in little 5-inch pots and kept under cover in one of the plastic mini-greenhouses. I had sowed 18, one seed to each pot, and 16 of them germinated within a few days of each other. Two were "No Shows" though, so I brought those two indoors to see whether the extra warmth would kick them into life. One has sprouted a very weak little shoot, but there is still no sign of the other. This is not a problem really, since I always sow more than I need.

"Witkiem Manita"

A lot of people would sow their Broad Beans directly into the place where they are going to grow, but I usually don't. I like to sow mine in pots because it makes it easier to protect them from mice, and to keep them warmer, which in turn will make them germinate quicker.

When the bean plants each have 3 or 4 leaves I reckon they are OK to plant out.

Planting is easy and takes just a few minutes!

I chose the 12 biggest of the 16 plants I had available, and put them in roughly 6 inches apart. In due course I am going to plant another 12, so I will end up with a total of 24. After I had planted today's 12 I sowed the seeds for the second batch, which will mean that there is about a month between the two batches. However, the second batch will probably catch up and come to harvest only a week or two after the first. This is what normally happens!

Again, just like the onions, I have covered my row of BBs with a pair of cloches.

The only difference is that alongside the BBs I have sown a row of Radish seeds, a mix of "French Breakfast" and "Scarlet Globe", both dependable old favourites. This so-called "inter-cropping" is a good way of getting maximum yields from a piece of ground by growing two different crops at the same time. Radishes grow pretty quickly so they will be out of the way before the beans get tall and block out their light.

Can you see the Radish seeds?

The protection provided by the cloches will hopefully allow the Radishes to develop more quickly than would be the case if they were out in the open, which will give me a nice early crop. I like to make an early start with Radishes because I find that in my garden they do best before the weather gets hot ("less cold" I mean, since we're in the UK). Ones sown in high Summer often bolt or go woody and excessively peppery, but the early ones are usually crisp, succulent and milder.


  1. I love your cloches. They are really nice. I often wonder why we don't have cloches here. The beans look wonderful and I am sure your radishes will do nicely with them. Great use of space.

  2. what type of BB were they?

    1. I have stuck with Aquadulce which are very hardy and the dwarf sutton which is also hardy. The Witkiem Manita isn't supposed to take minus temps so your cloches will be needed. Have you grown Witkiem Manita before?

    2. Yes I have grown them before. They seemed pretty good to me. not heard that they are particularly susceptible to cold temps - most BBs are pretty hardy.

    3. Probably the seed company trying to sell "different" varieties. Aquadulce go down to -15, Sutton to -10 and Witkiem Manita to zero.

      Your own experience is the best guide :) I was only asking because I have found all BB go through the winter when I sow them in Autumn but wondered if you knew they were more tender and hence the cloche.

  3. As you know we always plant BB in modules before planting out. We believe in giving them a good start before exposing them to potential weevil attack.


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