Five broad beans for autumn planting

AS with most plants, the usual contradictory advice surrounds the best time to sow broad beans. Some opt for the start of the year, others autumn or if you’re being very specific, like my grandad and uncles, Boxing Day.

If you want to steal a march on your rivals and be munching on beans, bacon and new potatoes come early spring, then we’ve put together a list of varieties you may like to try this autumn. Why not let us know how you get along in the comments box below?

 

Aquadulce Claudia

Hardy, early-maturing variety that produces a long pod and a white bean. Aquadulce is a prolific cropper which probably explains why it’s the go-to variety for most gardeners.

Sow: October, November and February to May

 

Optica

Early-maturing, dwarf variety that is ideally suited for gardens where space is at a premium. Optica produces smaller pods containing 4-5 beans that are perfect for freezing.

Sow: October, November and February to May

 

Red Epicure

As the name suggests not your standard type, Red Epicure is a unique heritage variety that produces a mahogany-coloured bean, which is best eaten lightly steamed to retain it’s flavour.

Sow: October, November and February to May.

 

Bunyard’s Exhibition

Tall-growing – so they’ll need to be staked – and producing a high yield thanks to the large pods, Bunyard’s Exhibition is one of the most reliable of the heritage varieties and is a favourite with chefs.

Sow: November, February to April

 

Stero

Easy-to-grow variety that produces small, thin-skinned pods which, if you pick them early, can be eaten without any need for shelling. Stero is known for its high yield and sweet, nutty flavour.

Sow: September-October and February-April

 

Don’t forget – if you’re a St Julians Allotment plotholder or have non-plotholder membership you can save 50% on seeds at dobies.co.uk

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