Another common name for broad beans (Vicia faba) is fava beans. They grow best in cool temperatures and will not set pods in warm weather. Broad beans can tolerate temperatures as cool as 4.44 degrees Celsius and as warm as 23.9 degrees C. The broad bean is a bushy, hardy summer annual in cool climates and a winter annual in warmer climates. The beans take 80 to 100 days to mature. It is best to start them indoors in peat pots in cool climates or areas with short growing seasons so they have time to mature before hot weather arrives.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 8- to 10-inch pots
- Peat pots
- Potting soil
- Broad bean seeds
- Wooden or metal stakes
Start seeds indoors in peat pots six weeks before planting them outdoors. Peat pots can be planted in larger containers filled with soil and compost and the peat itself will biodegrade, nourishing the plants. Peat pots give seedlings an advantage because they reduce root shock during transplanting. Plant one bean seed per pot, place them in bright, indirect sunlight and keep the pots moist.
Choose pots that are at least 8 to 10 inches in diameter for transplanting your seedlings. You will need multiple containers for a good crop. If you've never grown broad beans before, start with just one or two plants the first season.
Fill the pot with either a 50-50 mix of potting soil and compost or just plain compost. Beans are light feeders but they love a rich soil.
Plant two seeds per pot. Sow them 1 inch deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. When seedlings appear, thin them and discard the smaller one.
Keep the seedling's soil moist until it is established, after which you should water the plant just before the soil dries out. Take care not to overwater the bean plant.
Pinch back the top of the plant when the first pods begin to form. Remove the top of the plant with two leaves attached. This will produce a higher and more uniform yield.
Stake plants as they grow since they can get quite heavy and could easily topple over. Stick a metal or a wooden stake in the pot and secure the stem to the stake with pieces of string.
Pick the beans when pods appear plump, starting from the bottom of the plant.
Tips and warnings
- Dwarf broad bean varieties will do well in pots and probably won't require staking.
- It might be a good idea to keep the pots against a sunny wall so they don't topple over in windy weather.
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