Belonging to the Vicia (Vetch) genus, Broad bean has a botanical name of Vicia faba.
It is a rigid, erect plant 0.5-1.7 m tall, with stout stems with a square cross-section. The leaves are 10-25 cm long, pinnate with 2-7 leaflets, and of a distinct glaucous grey-green color; unlike most other vetches, the leaves do not have tendrils for climbing over other vegetation.
The flowers are 1-2.5 cm long, with five petals, the standard petal white, the wing petals white with a black spot (true black, not deep purple or blue as is the case in many “black” colorings), and the keel petals white. Crimson flowered broad beans also exist which were recently saved from extinction.
The fruit is a broad leathery pod, green maturing blackish-brown, with a densely downy surface; in the wild species, the pods are 5-10 cm long and 1 cm diameter, but many modern cultivars developed for food use have pods 15-25 cm long and 2-3 cm thick. Each pod contains 3-8 seeds; round to oval and 5-10 mm diameter in the wild plant, usually flattened and up to 20-25 mm long, 15 mm broad and 5-10 mm thick in food cultivars. 1
Due to how easy it is to grow in a variety of conditions, Broad bean is great for beginner gardeners and those that like low maintainance gardens.
This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Broad bean have been kindly provided by our members.
Rarely need staking.A full sun position will ensure your plant thrives and remember to water very sparingly. Keep in mind when planting that Broad bean is thought of as hardy, so this plant will grow or become dormant during the winter.
Autumn sown (late October or November) with variety Aquadulce or Aquadulce Claudia best sown direct for cropping mid- to late-May. Spring-sown best pre-germinated soaked in a small lidded plastic container and planted when 2-3 cm shoot has emerged. Sow in 19cm apart in double rows 25cm apart – bees prefer to pollinate outside rather than inside plants, in double row all are outside.
By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Broad bean about 1 days after your last frost date .
Plant 5 cm deep.
Leave plants to dry best on the plant and harvest seeds when pods are black and wrinkled. Note that there is a weevil which drills beautifully round small holes in the saved seed, so monitor carefully.
These plants have been known to grow well alongside Broad bean so consider planting:
These plants will not grow well with Broad bean so avoid planting these within close proximity:
These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Broad bean plants:
Blackfly is the main problem. Except in very difficult years, autumn-sown broad beans do not encounter this problem. Spring-sown broad beans are nearly always subject to blackfly. Some seek to use organic methods such as spraying with diluted washing-up liquid, but this has very short-term effectiveness. A systemic insecticide gives immunity for at least 14 days and is to be preferred particularly in community gardens except for the ultra-organic gardener.
Broad Beans have a long tradition of cultivation in Old World agriculture, being among the most ancient plants in cultivation and also among the easiest to grow. It is believed that along with lentils, peas, and chickpeas, they became part of the eastern Mediterranean diet in around 6000 BC or earlier. 1
Fava Bean, Faba Bean, Horse Bean, Field Bean, Tic Bean, Mexican Bean
Vicia faba L.
15 Sep 2012
I’ve never grown broad beans before, but these were pretty yummy. They do have to be staked, and early. Fairly productive.
Broad bean care instructions
How long does Broad bean take to grow?
Our when to plant Broad bean estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!
Popular varieties of Broad bean
- Green Windsor
- The Sutton
- Bunyards Exhibition
- Crimson Flowered
- Long Pod
- Masterpiece Green Longpod
- Red Epicure
- Super Aquadulce
- Aquadulce Claudia
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