I realise Broad Beans are a bit of a marmite vegetable, love them or hate them, but I love them and they are so easy to grow. Broad beans crop early in the year and it is possible to plant a quick crop in the soil afterwards such as rocket, radishes or cut and come again lettuce. Equally during a good summer you can get a second, smaller crop of beans if you want to leave the plants in the ground for longer.
You need a good number of plants for a decent crop and germinating from seed is the most economical way to get a large crop. Broad beans are a large seed, easy to handle and to germinate. Watch the video for tips on sowing broad beans and tips about planting different beans
Broad beans are the hardiest of the bean family to grow, quick to germinate within about 5-7 days of sowing, and they put on rapid growth producing a crop around June /July depending on the growing conditions. In more sheltered parts of the UK, and with the benefit of a well-drained soil, you can sow Broad beans in the autumn. The best-known varieties for autumn sowing is Aquadulce Claudia' and the plants will overwinter. If your soil is heavy, wet, poorly drained or in an exposed area Broad beans are best sown in the Spring.
The image top right shows a bean flower, which although usually white this variety has attractive crimson flowers, and is simply called Broad Bean 'Crimson Flowering'.