The recently sown Radar onion sets are growing well now in the cleared patch from which beetroot was harvested about a month ago. Nearby, last season’s onion patch has now been cleared, some compost mixed in and the soil levelled. This patch will now become the legume patch between now and next autumn.

Broad beans can be sown now in a quarter of my legume patch. A variety well suited to autumn sowing directly outdoors is Aquadulce and it should crop early before the end of May 2010. Along with seeds I need the support structure for the plants to grow up. I have seen broad beans growing without supports but a stormy night could play havoc and flatten them beyond redemption.

My chosen bean support is a purpose built ‘tent pole’ with eight guy ropes hanging from the top. These are pegged out in a circumference creating a wigwam type structure.  I press two seeds into the soil about a finger deep on each side of each guy rope. Once sowing is complete, I pat down the seedbed  and water the area as the weather has been fairly dry in Fingal in the last week or so.

The seed packet is then sealed in a clean dry jam jar and stored in the fridge. The remaining seeds will then be  fresh enough next spring for another sowing if for some reason the autumn sown seeds do not germinate in full. Broad bean plants sown in autumn have an advantage  being more resistant to blackfly attacks. They generally mature two to three weeks ahead of spring sown seeds.

In the years when we used to get hard frosts, horticultural fleece covering the wigwam support would be a protection. However, I would be surprised to see such hard frosts again given global warming and the mild nature of recent winters.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by hester scott on January 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Broad beans are easy to grow and not very attractive to slugs etc. I must say that for me they have the dreadful problem of rust or chocolate spot or perhaps both. This appears at flowering time so spraying is not a good idea and the plant gets weaker and less productive. The general advice i books is’nt very helpful – along the lines of – pull up and destroy! Feel I might’nt bother this year which would be a pity as I enjoy making a gardening start with them. Any advice? Hester


    • Hester, a Chara,
      Sorry to hear the broad beans are getting rust. Black aphids took a shine to the growing tips of my broad beans but I squirted them off with the jet setting of a houseplant mist bottle filled with water mixed with a few drops of washing-up liquid. I would not pull up your plants, but removing affected leaves as soon as symptoms appear is prudent. If rust is attacking, it suggests the growing conditions are nor ideal or the plant was weak from the start. Rust may have thrived due to damp weather for example. As two years running are never the same, try beans again in a different location in soil containing good compost. Hopefully you will have better luck next time.
      Le meas glas,


  2. Hi Trevor

    Just love your website – I thought that I was pretty good at this veg growing game but am happy to take your constant tips and use them profitably in my own patch. Hadn’t realised you could plant broad bean seeds so early. I planted a batch (can’t remember variety) from seed last February and they produced wonderful beans from July on – only just finished in fact. Support was an issue, I just used bamboo but was intrigued by the ‘purpose built ’tent pole’ with eight guy ropes hanging from the top’ that you use. This sounds great – did you have it made somewhere or it easy to put together? Would welcome tips as I am planning now to to plant aquadulce next month myself.

    Keep up the great work!



    • Paul, a Chara,
      Delighted to hear from you. That wigwam support for the beans and peas was shop bought but could be assembled easily enough I’d say. Maybe a broom handle would suffice. 8 small nails tapped in on top like a crown. Hang the twine lengths from each nail. Each length of twine looped top and bottom, each one long enough to be pegged into the soil by a tent peg or a makeshift sturdy twig. Hey presto, a wigwam support! I generally plant 2 seeds at the base of each ‘tent peg’. Good luck with the Aquadulce, a well regarded variety bred from varieties which came from Portugal in the 16trh century to these islands I hear.

      Le meas.


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