It’s time to bring in the Broadbeans. I have around six plants producing a ton of beans. Harvesting the biggest ones from the bottom I managed to collect this little lot and some podded Peas too.
When it comes to preparing Broadbeans and Peas it’s always a time issue. Do you have time to do the shelling? I have harvested many a bowl of Peas or Beans that have sat, unshelled for a day or two. Not with these.
You don’t always need to shell Broad beans. If they are young enough and fresh enough they are pretty sweet as they come. But for those that do need shelling I did a post a while ago on how to shell Broadbeans. These were very sweet.
The first Broad bean harvest is definitely cause for celebration in our house. We had Jamie Oliver’s Incredible Smashed Pea and Broadbeans on Toast. A lovely recipe with Lemon, Mint and Pecorino cheese. With some crisp white wine, candles and a bunch of nice Oakleaf Hydrangeas cut from the garden. It was heaven.
I planted out my Broadbeans (Fava Beans) this week. I had started them off from seed about three or four weeks ago in these biodegradable pots. I just popped the whole thing in the ground and tucked them in. Nice and easy.
The roots were just about popping out from the bottom of the pots so it was a timely re-plant.
I do like the vibrant green of the Broadbean seedling. It’s a great foil to the cold and wet grey days we’ve been having here. And it feels good to get that much of the garden ‘planted up’. The variety is Windsor.
Although, the size of yeild compared to the ground space they use up is quite low, that doesn’t matter because Broadbeans are a great early cropping plant. Soon enough they will be gone and composted to make room for a later crop like sweetcorn, Tomatoes, or Pumpkin. They definitely earn their keep in my garden.
I brought in a lovely crop of Broadbeans today. The pods were just starting to get knobbly and the plants were getting heavy enough to start falling over. There was a touch of brown spot on them too but not too much black fly.
Broadbeans aren’t a very economical crop, space wise. The plants get rather tall, need support and take up quite a lot of room in my small garden. They go in quite early but take a while to get going and are not the first thing to be harvested. It’s already the end of July and so they’ve taken up the ground for close to five months.
Are they worth it? Yes, I think they are. I love the fresh, green taste and you just can’t buy them in the shops. Farmers markets maybe but you’ve no idea how old they are and they never taste quite like your own ‘just picked’. But for me the part Broadbeans play in my garden is this – they get me excited about the coming season. When I first sow them and see their big, waxy green leaves pushing through I know that Spring is on it’s way. They are the ones that keep me going through the tough late Winter. And for that I will give them space every year.
ps. Here’s a little post on how to shell Broadbeans
The Broadbeans that I sowed on 15th Feb have sprouted. They have been in my coldframe since then and so have dodged the few frosts that we’ve had here.
I absolutely love this time of year! It makes me want to bounce around the garden like a Spring bunny! Unfortunately, not the Spring bunny that my cat brought in the other day and that was ‘having a nap’ on the kitchen floor when we got up for breakfast.
Sleeping bunnies aside I love how everything is so fresh and green. New seedlings, Rhubarb crumble, Daffodils in the shops, Easter pastels, heck even a Royal Wedding to look forward to! Yes, Spring is good.
I sowed some Broadbeans (Aquadulce) a couple of days ago. In the photo you can see that I’m also being wuss-pants and I had my camping heater on to keep me warm! I know, I know. If I was a true gardener and all that. But hey, I don’t want cold fingers and you just can’t sow seeds with your gloves on, can you?
In to the coldframe they go. In the photo you can see I’ve got quite a few things growing in the coldframe. On the left is my Cauliflower (Avalanche) that I sowed in the Autumn and on the right are two varieties of over wintering Lettuce (Winter Gem and Winter Density).
I’m really pleased with my seedlings in the coldframe. They sat through the snow and all the harsh frosts we’ve had. They’re a bit spindly but I’m sure they’ll toughen up once the light levels increase. I have high hopes for some early Lettuce and a Cauliflower crop!
What’s in your coldframe – if you have one?
Yesterday, I ran along my Broadbean row, and like a good girl, I pinched out the tips from each plant. I was pleased with the results until I realised that I didn’t actually know why I’d just done it. I had some vague recollection of reading it somewhere in a book and that it had something to do with blackfly.
So I looked it up. Apparently, the main reason why you should nip out the tips is that it redirects the plant’s energy into setting fruit, rather than growing taller. So you should only nip out the tips once three or four trusses of flowers have appeared.
Secondly, nipping out the tips takes away the part of the plant that is most susceptible to blackfly attack and therefore discourages a future attack. If you already have blackfly then you’ll be removing most of them as you nip. So, everyone’s a winner, as they say.
Lastly, you can cook the tips (providing they are not infested with blackfly, of course). Wash and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then treat like Spinach or Greens. I might try some.
So now I know why I’m pinching out the tips of my broadbeans I can be reassured that I’m doing the right thing. Yes…it’s much better to have all of the information, all of the time.
I should have posted this last week when I did actually sow the Broadbeans but work got the better of me. But never mind that, the Broadbeans are in and I shall watch closely for signs of life over the next few weeks. I bought an Autumn sowing variety called Aquadulce Claudia (ooh very posh). Interestingly enough when I arrived at mtp to sow the aforementioned beans my plot neighbour, David, was there doing exactly the same thing! That’s not unusual in itself but I was very happy that he was sowing broadbeans as that meant I was doing something right. David is my guru. I watch him, I learn, then copy everything he does. I think he’s about 70 years old (he’s never told me his age but from a few hints he’s dropped I’m guessing) and (this is the best bit) he’s grown vegetables on his plot for 30 years. So as I said, I’m watching, learning and copying his every move. Maybe I’ll persuade him to smile for the camera one day!