Broad beans can be sown early in the season. The seedlings can even withstand light frost.

Just like peas, pods, and capuchins, broad beans like things cool; you can sow them early (from about February). Light to moderate frost does not affect the seedlings. Only in severe frosts, it is advisable to protect the seedlings with, for example, fleece cloth.

Early sowing is also very useful because with a little luck you can harvest before the time of the black bean lice begins. This little creature is almost inevitable and is the biggest attacker of broad beans.

Broad beans (or fava beans) are pretty hardy and adaptable. They grow in most soils and climates.

Roughly there are 3 ways to grow broad beans. This, of course, depends on local conditions and the climate in which you live.

1. From about the end of January, sow under glass and then plant outdoors in February-March.

2. Sow outside in full ground from mid to late February.

3. And the third lesser known possibility: sow in October. The young seedlings can tolerate quite a bit of frost and will if it gets a little warmer in February, grow quickly and give an extra early harvest.

Of course, there is always a risk with severe frost, and one breed is more suitable for it than the other. Choose a sunny location and therefore a good hardy variety.

broad beans and fava beans

Broad beans are a great source of protein and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins A, B1 and B2.

Soil and fertilization

Broad beans grow on all soil types. Leguminous plants require little nutrition, but a broad bean needs more. After all, it grows out to big plants with big pods. In addition to working with compost, it’s recommended to give an average amount of high quality (organic) fertilizer. You can work some fertilizer through the soil before planting, and give the plant an extra boost when it’s in its growing phase.

In addition to working with compost, it’s recommended to give an average amount of high quality (organic) fertilizer. 

Harvesting broad beans/fava beans

Best is to harvest young pods because then they are also small, young and the tastiest. Do this around June. You can keep them for a few days (in the pod of course). It’s fine to freeze them in. You can cook the frozen beans by throwing them directly in boiling water.

a lot of broad beans

Here’s some recipe inspiration...

Broad beans, especially the young and fresh ones are very tasty. What about a risotto with peas and broad beans, or a salad with broad beans, feta, and watercress?

Just try and experiment with different varieties of broad beans in your own vegetable garden. There are a lot of different types to choose from. So, let’s get planting!