Broad beans are one of the best plants to grow in the garden – and here are some of the reasons why:
- They grow quickly to produce a high energy crop
- Provides a useful windbreak
- Once grown, the plant becomes useful fodder for chickens, quail, and as a green manure
- The flowers attract bees in high numbers, and they flower heaps. And they smell nice for people too!
- Return nitrogen to the soil (a wondrous trait of legumes)
- Easy to save from seed, and repeat the cycle
Now on this last point, here is a tip for saving those broad bean seeds.
If you leave the pods long enough, they will start to go black and very dry. This is OK, in fact, it’s what nature intended all along.
On your strongest growing and most productive plant, wait until the pods get as hard as thick plastic, then remove and open up.
What you get is beans ready to regrow into broad beans plants. Just put them a few inches deep in some moist soil and leave it be. From then on it is just a case of waiting for the miracle of germination, and the cycle begins again.
Broad beans will grow in just about any climate all year round, and this is a sure way to keep an ongoing supply of them in your garden. All that nitrogen going back into the soil is food for all the other plants in your garden, especially when grown around established fruit trees.
And if you suffer from gout like I do and can’t eat many beans, then the nitrogen fixing benefits and those other things I mentioned above should make this plant a mandatory element in your garden.
You growing broad beans – how do you save the seeds?