Introduction: Hello gardeners, today we discuss the growing Broad beans in your home garden. Broad beans also called fava beans or chikkudikaya. It is a superb vegetable for modest-sized plots, producing high yields from a comparatively small area of the garden. Broad beans are very cheap and easy to grow from seeds.
A guide to growing Broad beans (chikkudikaya) indoors
The other names of Broad bean are horse bean, the field bean, the Windsor bean, and most famously as the fava (Vicia faba). Broad beans are an excellent source of protein and vitamins A, C and B. Rich in fiber and delicious, these are worth growing in the indoors.
Broad bean varieties suitable for indoors
- “Aquadulce Claudia”: Spanish variety with good disease resistance.
- “The Sutton”: A dwarf variety (14 inches tall) that’s great for limited space, containers, and windy areas.
- “Sweet Lorane”: Very smaller bean bred to have fewer tannins.
- “Windsor”: This produces large, flavorful beans.
Requirements for growing Broad beans
- Grow Broad bean crops in full sun on rich, fertile, well-manured soil. Select a sheltered spot, and position away from strong winds.
- Broad beans can be grown in containers, but a good crop will take more space than most containers can provide.
- If your soil is very wet or clay-based, start Broad bean plants off in pots to prevent the seeds from rotting in the ground.
- Broad beans are a cool-season crop that grows best in temperatures ranging from 60° to 65°F, but Broad beans will grow in temperatures as low as 40°F and as warm as 75°F. Sow beans in spring as soon as the soil can be worked for harvest before the weather warms. Broad beans need 80 to 100 days to reach harvest. In mild-winter area sow Broad beans in early autumn for winter harvest.
- Broad beans grow in full sun. Plant these beans in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter and add aged compost to planting beds before planting. Broad beans prefer a soil pH level of 6.0 to 6.8.
Soil preparation for growing Broad beans
Arrange the planting site by digging over and adding leaf mould or well-rotted manure. Select the Broad bean variety that suits your needs, hardy cultivars for early autumn sowings or dwarf broad beans for windy areas.
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Broad bean seed sowing
Broad bean seeds must be placed 3 inches below the surface, in double rows at a spacing of about 10 inches. The double rows offer better support for the Broad bean plants in fertile soil. They will create a micro-climate for your plants creating much-needed humidity for fruit-setting. The rows must be spaced about 3 feet apart and should be set out well to allow for maximum drainage.
Another way of planting Broad beans is to plant two seeds in each hole. That way, when the plants grow, they can support each other in windy conditions, and you will double your chances of germination. However, if you live in a warmer climate, planting like this is not advised as it compromises excellent airflow and could lead to fungal diseases.
Your seeds must start to germinate within 7 days. As soon as the shoots appear to maintain the soil free from weeds and loosen it occasionally. To give extra support, you can build up the soil around the base of the stalks.
Even before your crop has begun to emerge it would still be prudent to make sure that have hoed well around your rows to keep any competitive weeds at bay.
Because of the high nitrogen in the soil as an effect of growing your broad beans, remember legumes put back nitrogen in the soil, so you will find that weeds are a major problem to control.
Sowing seeds directly in the soil
Dig over the soil to make a seedbed and sow one bean directly 5cm (2in) deep and 23cm (9in) apart. Sow in double rows or blocks but stagger plantings to create the best use of space.
Sowing seeds undercover
Sowing Broad beans undercover can provide more reliable germination especially if you have trouble with frozen soil or pests like mice.
Sow one per 7cm (3in) pot or container filled with multi-purpose compost. Water in and place in a cool but frost-free place and avoid heated rooms or hot greenhouses as they will fail to germinate.
Broad beans planting method
Sow Broad bean seeds one inch deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. Space rows 18 to 30 inches apart and thin seedlings to stand 8 to 10 inches apart. In short-season regions, start Broad beans indoors in pots and set them into the garden shortly after the last frost in spring.
Water and feeding Broad beans
Water Broad bean plants just before the soil dry out but do not over-water them. Maintain soil moist during flowering and pod formation. Plant Broad beans in well-drained soil. Broad beans do not need feeding apart from planting in fertile, composted soil. Broad beans set up a mutual exchange with soil microorganisms called nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which help them produce usable nitrogen.
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Adequate moisture is particularly important from flower bud formation to pod set. Too much water or too little water, or excessive heat, causes blossom and pod drop. Provide Broad bean plants with 1 inch of water per week. Extremes in soil moisture can lead to malformed pods in which only the first few seeds develop, leaving the rest of the bean pod shriveled. Water early in the morning to allow plants to dry quickly and decrease the opportunity for disease infection.
Seed germination of Broad beans
Broad bean seeds germinate within 10 to 14 days. Provide young plants with about one inch of water per week. To avoid diseases, prevent overhead watering that gets the plant leaves wet. Water at soil level early in the day, thus any wet foliage can dry by nighttime. A 3-inch layer of seed-free straw extends on the soil around the plants can help promote soil moisture retention and suppress weeds.
Prepare the ground with fertilizer
Whenever you’re planting your Broad beans, plant them in well-tilled soil that’s been properly fertilized with the fertilizer of your choice. Since Broad beans are nitrogen-producers, you don’t necessarily want to fertilize. If you do, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer.
Beans plant protection
Broad beans can be attacked by aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers and mites. Spray aphid pest away with a blast from the hose. Bean beetles and flea beetles could be controlled with sticky traps. Eliminate leafhoppers with horticultural fleece or spray with insecticidal soap and mites can be controlled. Spray mites with the insecticidal soap. Small white and yellow moths are adult cabbage worms which shelter in Broad beans.
Broad beans are susceptible to blight, mosaic, and anthracnose. Cut down the incidence of disease by planting some disease-resistant varieties. Maintain the garden clean. Avoid handling the bean plants when they are wet. Remove infected plants so they can not spread the disease to healthy plants. Soil-borne diseases can be reduced by changing the place of bean crops each year.
Broad bean harvesting process
Pick from the bottom up when ripe and maintain to harvest frequently. Finger thick beans can be eaten or wait until the pod bursts open to harvest the fully ripe beans inside. When finished, cut off stems and dig roots back into the garden soil to make use of captured nitrogen.
Broad beans are great for storing and you can dry or freeze the beans. To pick fresh, pod, place in a plastic bag and freeze. To dry, pick pod and layout the Broad beans in a dry place. Leave Broad beans to completely dry and store in an airtight container. These beans can be sown next year or rehydrated for use in cooking.
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