The broad bean, scientifically named Vicia faba , is a legume plant that is especially useful as an autumn or winter crop due to its ability to enrich the soil by fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Thanks to this, sowing beans in our garden during the cold months, when in many cases the land is not used so much, it is a great method to return nutrients to the soil in a totally natural way.
If you want to learn how to plant broad beans step by step in your own garden, join us in this article where you will find a practical guide that will help you easily have this plant at home and, thus, you can enjoy these fresh and organic legumes.
When to plant beans
The most common is to plant the beans in autumn , between the months of September and October . As the bean has the ability to renew nitrogen in the soil, it is a very good option to take advantage of the cold months and give the earth a rest from more voracious species.
However, in areas with very cold winters it is also common to plant beans later, already entering spring, to protect them from excessively low temperatures.
How to plant broad beans step by step
Take note of these tips and steps to plant beans at home:
- Prepare the soil: since it is not a demanding plant in terms of nutrients, the only thing that will be necessary to contribute to the soil is some organic matter in the form of manure, compost or worm castings . The broad bean does not really need a large contribution from it, but since it is common to use this crop to renew the land, it is worth leaving it enriched for the next crop.
- Soak the beans: once you have the enriched and aerated soil, let the beans soak in a bowl or jar overnight to help stimulate their germination process.
- Plant the beans: when planting them, respect approximately 20 cm of distance between holes and about 30 cm of distance between different rows, if you put several. It is highly recommended to put two seeds per hole, to ensure that at least one of them germinates. If it turns out that both germinate, later it will be necessary to practice a thinning, leaving only the strongest plant.
- Water the newly planted beans: as always, right after planting them, you need to water them abundantly and keep the soil moist until the plants have germinated, which tends to take around 10 days. Depending on the species, in a time between 60 and 120 days our beans should be ready for harvest.
It is also possible to plant the beans in pots to have them on terraces or balconies. In these cases, it will be necessary a container of at least 5 liters and follow the steps mentioned above in preparing the soil.
It will be important to give the pot some support if there are strong winds in the area, since the plant could topple over.
Broad beans – basic care
These are the main factors that you should take into account about basic bean plant care :
This is one of the most important points when growing beans, it may be the most important. These plants require a lot of sunlight to grow, so they are not a suitable crop for indoor or semi-shady conditions. Locate the bean plants in the brightest spot in your garden or terrace.
It is an undemanding plant with regard to temperature, although it does best in temperate climates and without great thermal variations. Even so, as long as the temperatures are not extreme, your beans will develop properly, since they can tolerate frosts of a few degrees below zero. However, with temperatures above 20 ºC, especially at planting time, the seeds will not germinate properly.
As we have already mentioned, the bean enriches the soil more than depleting it, so a small contribution of organic matter that provides it with some phosphorus and potassium will be enough. Mind you, when it comes to drainage, you need a good one. The ideal pH is between 7.3 and 8.2.
The bean needs a fairly constant humidity , since small droughts or lack of water can do a lot of damage. However, as in most cases, this does not mean that they can tolerate waterlogging, which can cause fungus or root rot. The most appropriate thing, therefore, is to resort to drip irrigation or, instead, to frequent low-volume irrigations that do not flood.
We recommend you learn How to make a home drip irrigation system to use with broad bean plants, as well as learn about some of the best homemade fungicides , in case you want to use them as a preventive measure or in case you need to use them on broad beans.