Broad beans are cheap and easy to grow from seed. 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 types of 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 in the centre above shows the Broad Bean just emerging after germination. Beans have long roots and need to be germinated into deep not in a shallow container. From garden centres you can buy containers known as root trainers, which can be expensive, (image below) or as image left shows Broad beans can be germinated into toilet roll holders in which they will grow well until ready for planting out. The main tip, when growing Broad Beans in toilet roll holders, is to take care when watering and avoid soaking the cardboard otherwise it may go soggy and collapse. The image left shows Broad bean plants ready to plant out with their roots extending out of the toilet roll holders in which they have been germinated.
Broad Beans can be germinated from late February onwards. Fill suitable containers with compost, damp it and press down gently to ensure there are no air pockets and then place a bean seed about 7 cms down the container, sprinkle with a little compost and cover. it does not matter which way up you plant the seed, it will sort itself out. Put in a warm place and germination should occur after a few days. Broad beans can be planted out in March/April and also sown direct into the veg plot. When growing Broad Beans in the veg plot or planting out they will need some protection if there is severe weather. Plant in double rows 30 cms apart, shallow about 7 cms deep, plant every 15cms.