Broad bean 'Aquadulce Claudia' (Vicia faba)
A gardeners' favourite. Broad bean 'Aquadulce Claudia' is the best broad bean for autumn sowing, over wintering plants on the plot outside, for an early harvest the following spring. Slender pods of 23cm (9") long, are full of succulent white seeded flavoursome beans.
- Growing broad beans is fairly straightforward if you follow the steps below.
Choose a well-drained site that has been thoroughly dug and, ideally, improved with garden compost or well-rotted manure
Sow seeds 5-7.5cm (2-3in) deep and 15-23cm (6-9in) apart, depending on the cultivar. In open ground, sow in single rows 45cm (18in) apart or double rows 23cm (9in) apart with 60cm (2ft) between each double row. In raised beds where space is not needed to walk between rows for picking, all rows can be spaced 23cm (9in) apart
Sow a few extra seeds at the end of the rows to produce plants which can be lifted and moved to fill in any gaps created by seeds that fail to germinate
Hoe regularly to remove weeds as soon as they appear.
Tall cultivars may need staking. Use strings attached to sturdy stakes inserted at 1.2m (4ft) intervals. Smaller cultivars usually support each other, especially when they are planted in double rows
Unless rainfall has been high, soak plants well at the start of flowering and again two weeks later. Further irrigation may also be needed on light soils
When the lowest truss of blossom has formed small pods, pinch out the tips of the beans to promote fruit set and reduce problems with blackfly (an aphid). These tips can be steamed or stir-fried and eaten
Harvest pods once beans have begun to visibly swell inside. Harvest plants in stages, starting with the lowest pod first; small beans are sweeter and more tender that large ones. Pods can also be picked when they are immature to be cooked and eaten whole
- Pick beans regularly to encourage further cropping.
- Requires support.
- Provide poles or netting for plants to climb.
Suitable for the vegetable garden, allotments and containers.
Be prepared to water well and supplement feed with high-potash feed during season. Regular feeding is recommended.