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.