For an early harvest of Broad Beans next year start sowing in October and November plus January in a mild-winter. They will be ready to harvest May and June and help bridge the ‘hungry gap’ when there is very little else to eat from the allotment.
Personally I prefer to start them in pots and when they are at the 4 leaf stage I plant them onto the allotment. Plant 8inc apart in a double row then 35inch between each row. It’s a good idea to erect bamboo canes every 3ft and tie string from each cane until the double row is surrounded, this will help stop the plants rocking around too much and disturbing their roots during a windy winter.
Don’t be shocked to see nothing happening. They will just sit there and seem to be doing nothing but they are busy under the soil building up their root system. Once the warmer days of early Spring arrive they will shoot up and start bushing out to produce beans.
Harvest when you are see the beans forming inside the pods but don’t leave them too long as they become tough. Trial and error will help the first time gardener so only pick one pod, open it and see how the beans are inside before harvesting handfuls for the kitchen table.
Recommended varieties for overwintering
The seed tray, as seen in the video, is available from http://containerwise.co.uk, ask for 40L Shallow Propagation Trays.