How to grow Beans and Peas
How to grow Peas and Beans
It is easy to grow Broad Beans, Runner Beans, Peas and French Beans and have a rewarding crop, one of the easiest of all veg to grow, and so definitely green wheel barrow. These are great vegetables to get children interested in gardening because they shoot up quickly, they are trouble free and fun to pick.
All beans like a long root run and are best germinated in either into specially purchased root trainers, image left, or cheaper, toilet roll holders.
Sow in the order you will plant out: Broad beans, Runner beans French beans.
If you do not have space to germinate and grow on the young plants under glass/insider, you can sow directly into the veg plot in May or buy small plants from the garden centres.
Plants grown from seed will need to be hardened off before planting outside. This is because the small plants have been cossetted in a greenhouse or window sill in relatively sheltered conditions and need to be gradually accustomed to the outside climate. Place outside on mild days during the day and bring in on cool nights gradually increasing the time outside. Always pprotect French beans and Runner beans from frost by covering with cloche or fleece.
Treat the different types of beans differently; Broad beans are more hardy and will withstand some chilly weather, Runner beans a bit less so but will take it cooler, and French beans are very cold sensitive and really hate chilly winds.
To avoid gluts plant successively, which means plant out new plants or sow into pots/directly into the soil every 2 weeks. In theory this means plants come to cropping every two weeks but the weather conditions can interrupt this carefully laid plan.
Time table for Growing Beans
This is a guide when to germinate indoors, and when to sow outdoors and planting out times for the various types of Beans and Peas. The precise timetable will vary depending on the seasonal weather and the aspect of your veg plot.
Germinate seeds under glass in the warm. Start with Broad beans, which can be planted out the earliest, then Runner Beans and later in April French Beans. Seeds need warmth to germinate and so place on warm windowsill, heated greenhouse or use a heated mat. Place in root trainers or small but deep pots/toilet roll holders cover lightly with soil and place in a propagator/ cover but do not exclude light, see video above. Once the seeds have germinated and the plant emerges, remove from the heat so that the plant doesn't grow sappy and keep in all round light to prevent it becoming spindly. All round light means is either a greenhouse, conservatory or if growing on a window sill rotate regularly to ensure even light and growth. This is important although a bit of faff. Plants will always grow towards the light and if the light source is just from one side, as can be the case on a windowsill, the seedling can get a bit lopsided. Do not be tempted to start germination too early because if the light levels are low, the seedlings will become spindly reaching for the light. if this happens it can be overcome when you pot on the seedling by sinking a large part of the spindly stem under the soil and plant it deep.
Grow on in Pots to provide sturdy plants for planting out later in the spring. You can skip this stage and sow direct into the veg plot in May see below
Broad beans are fairly hardy and can be planted out once hardened off. There are in fact some varieties which can be autumn sown and overwintered in more sheltered areas of the UK.
Continue to germinate Broad and runner Beans to have plants for successive cropping later in year.
Time to start germinating French Beans which are more cold sensitive and need to be planted out last. In warmer parts of the country/sheltered plots plant out Runner beans with frost protection
By May you can sow direct outdoors Broad beans and Runner beans into the veg plot with protection in the event of frost. Later in month sow and / or plant out French beans with frost protection.
Later in the growing season May/June/July you can sow the seed directly into the ground when the soil is warmer. Raising the soil temperature varies around the country and with the weather conditions but late April/ May/June rather than March.
After hardening off plant out all pot grown beans and start to germinate directly outside
Continue sowing all types of beans directly into the warm veg plot until July.