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Other Names - Broad Beans, Fava Beans, Field Beans…
Aquadulce Claudia is one of the most favoured broad bean varieties grown by U.K gardeners. It is extremely hardy and therefore the best variety to choose for autumn sowings. Its slender pods grow to around 20 - 25cm long and are filled with tasty white succulent beans.
Suitable For - Vegetable plot, raised beds
Sowing Months - Late January - March, November
Harvest - July - early August, June - early August from a November sowing
A rich, moisture retentive free draining soil is preferred. For autumn sowings ensure the chosen area is not prone to waterlogging during the winter months as this can cause the seeds to rot. Add some good quality weed free compost or well rotted manure a few weeks before sowing. Or if preferred apply a general purpose organic fertilizer a week before sowing or planting.
|General Information||Sowing & Planting Information|
|Habit||Annual||Module Grown & Transplants|
|Type||Heritage variety||Distance between plants||10 cm|
|Position||Full sun, sheltered||Distance between rows||45 cm|
|Average height||125 cm||Direct Sowing|
|Average spread||30 cm||Sowing distance between plants||10 cm|
|Hardiness||Hardy||Distance between rows||45 cm|
|Overwintering||Yes||Sowing depth||2 / 4 cm|
|Soil Ph||6.5 - 7.0||Germination temperature||8 to 15℃|
|Days to germination||7 - 14 days|
Sow 1 broad bean seed 2cm deep in a small 7 - 10 cm pot in January or February for an early sowing. If heat is used to promote faster germination it is important to reduce the heat as soon as germination has started. This will produce a strong, stocky plant rather than a leggy weak plant that is likely to be killed by severe frosts.
After 3 - 5 weeks depending on speed of growth, plant out into their final growing position suggested above. Before planting out the young broad beans will need hardening off over 7 - 10 days to reduce shock. To add some protection and warmth to the newly planted beans cover with horticultural fleece until growth is strong.
Sow 1 broad bean seed 4cm deep 10cm apart. After sowing cover the seeds with soil and water well. If frosts are forecast cover with horticultural fleece. For autumn sowings avoid sowing too early. Large broad bean plants may look impressive in the garden before the winter months arrive however overly large plants are less likely to survive the winter frosts. Small stocky plants (approx. 7 - 10 cm tall) have a far better chance of surviving.
Regular hoeing may be necessary to keep the weeds under control especially during the early stages. Water young plants well every 7 - 10 days. If the weather becomes dry the beans will need extra watering especially when the pods are developing. If birds are a problem cover the young crop with bird netting.
As soon as the first beans start to form, remove 8 - 10 cm of the growing tips of the main stem. This ensures an earlier harvest and helps to prevent problems from blackfly. These sweet tender offcuts are delicious lightly steamed and served with a little butter!
When the tall varieties reach 80 - 100 cm in height they will need extra support. Place stakes (such as strong bamboo canes) every 100 - 150 cm along each row. Tie 2 pieces of string to an end stake (approx. 30 cm from the ground). Weave the 2 pieces of string in between all of the stakes in the row so that the plants are held within the 2 strings. (String should now be on either side of each plant in the row). Tie the end of the string to the last stake at the other end of the row. Repeat this 2 - 3 times to every row leaving about 25 - 30 cm distance between each line of string.
To harvest the pods apply a sharp downward twist. Begin harvesting the broad beans when they are about 7 - 10 cm long. At this young age the pods are very tender and sweet and can be eaten whole. For larger beans wait until the shape of the beans just start to show through the pods.
If the beans are left to grow to full length the bean will develop a tough outer shell. Some people prefer to remove this outer shell before cooking (shelling). After the last beans have been harvested, cut the plants at soil level. Leave the roots (which may have produced nitrogen nodules) in the ground for the next crop to use and benefit from.
Broad beans will store well in a polythene bag for up to one week in the fridge. These beans freeze very well. Wash the beans thoroughly, blanch for 3 minutes. Freeze in a polythene bag and use within 12 months.
Mice can sometimes eat the seeds before or just after they have germinated. If mice are a problem it may be best to start the plants indoors.
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