Ever since L at 500m2 posted about shelling broad beans being great entertainment for preschoolers I have been anxiously awaiting my crop.
I sowed my broad beans seeds in mid May this year. Anytime in Autumn is fine to sow them in Melbourne. That way they mature over the winter months and should be ready for harvest in about September/October/November. The seeds germinated within a month and I applied some sulphate of potash to the ground around the seedlings. About a week later I mulched with pea straw.
By July they looked like this.
And 6 weeks later, in September mine looked like this, you can see that they have started to flower:
By the start of October the plants were huge and pods were just starting to form. I put some chicken wire around the outside of the clump for support. Bees have been buzzing around the plants so I am fairly confident of a good harvest.
Last week the pods were this size.
I pinched out the tips of half the plants to see if that would hasten the growth of the pods with excellent results so today I pinched out the remaining tips. I stir fried the tips last week and this week had them steamed with butter and lemon – they have a slightly pea like taste.
I think I will be able to harvest the first beans in about a week or two, and hopefully the remainder not too late into November. I have some seedlings anxiously awaiting bed space. Broad Beans fix nitrogen into the soil so they are probably best followed by leafy greens but I need the space for capsicums & eggplants and hopefully they too will benefit from the rich soil.
For me the Broad Bean harvest is the best part of a year way… 🙁 I must say that yours look like perfect examples. Not a sign of a single blackfly.
I’ve never had a problem with blackfly (touch wood) I’m not sure if we get it here or not to be honest. I am very excited and have lots of pancetta ready for the feast.
Mine are at exactly the same stage as you. But I only pinched some tops out yesterday. I had them in a stir fry and they were yummy. Last year my kids and I spent an afternoon shelling all the broad beans together in the sun. It was lovely.
That sounds so nice! The forecast is great this week so perhaps we can do the same – presuming the beans comply of course….
Liz, I’ve been picking broad beans every couple of days here for a few weeks now. To be honest I wasn’t a fan of this veg before planting it, but it seemed to be the in vegetable at the time so I figured I was missing something. And I was, once they’re double peeled they are just gorgeous in everything, but especially with bacon or pancetta. I put them in a chicken and vegetable soup tonight and have a spring vegetable pasta dish to try later in the week with beautiful asparagus, zucchini and peas. Hope your plants comply with your plans.
Oh and I have tried getting Miss Two into the peeling thing, but she’s not quite co-ordinated enough to get them out of the shells and loses interest quite quickly. She does love to ‘cook’ with the vegie scraps in a bowl with some water and a spoon, so it still works as a form of entertainment, just not how I imagined it would.
I agree regarding the pancetta & bacon! Have you tried them in Paella – also great. You be pleased to know the cooking with bits & pieces lasts for a number of years – my 5 year old is still cooking up a storm but she does demand real produce now – yesterday she may a delightful milkshake with cream cheese, milk & dried apricots….well Mr almost 2 drank it so it can’t have been too bad – the bits of dried apricots got stuck in the straw quite often though…..
Oh I wanna come over and caress them. i missed growign them this year 🙁 I’ve never tried the tips, so will for sure next year.
They are wonderfully tactile aren’t they – the pods I mean.
I hope they grow well and speedily – they’re looking good! 🙂
Thanks Jem. As long as they taste goood I will indeed be a happy girl.
So close! I find it really fascinating to see the differences in climate along the east coast between Ali in Brisbane, me and Sydney and all you guys in Melbourne. My main crop of broad beans is more than halfway finished now – it’s been a good season.
I’m disappointed to read that Barbara’s Miss Two isn’t into the broad bean thing yet – give it time I guess – next year it’ll work a treat 🙂