Planting out my Leggy Broad Beans

There has been much drama in the legumes department. Last autumn I popped a few rows of  hardy Aquadulce Claudia outdoors in an attempt to get a slightly earlier crop – I lost the lot. The snow, extreme cold and prolonged cold/wet soil from December onwards took care of that idea for me and just to stick the boot in even harder, claimed my hardy Meteor peas too. Bah! I’m such a fool! I should have covered the rows with cloches rather than relying  completely on the word ‘hardy’. I guess the seeds weren’t hardy enough to cope with a foot of snow and then ice on top of the soil for weeks on end, they rotted away. Poor things. It’s OK though, I’m getting over it.

Good job really that I’m not a massive fan of broad beans, I’m also not able to control the weather either (now wouldn’t that be nice!?) so, I have decided to sow broad beans directly into the garden around March time in future – I would rather wait a few weeks longer to pick broad beans if need be to avoid all this hoo haar. Failing that, if I do decide to give autumn sowing another try I will remember to use some common sense ( I do have some, although it’s fleeting) and cover with cloches. I think I prefer waiting till March idea best – they usually catch up anyway.

I did sow more broad beans indoors in January, the plants are healthy at the moment but rather leggy which I find does happen to broad beans started off in small pots. The plants have been hardening off outside and are ready to go in the veg garden, but because they are so leggy they are too tall for my tunnel cloches so I will pop some fleece over them at night for a while, keeping my fingers tightly crossed for them. All is not lost, there is still time to sow broad beans outside and that is what I shall do whilst mumbling a little prayer for my leggy broad bean plants.

One of these years I will crack the art of growing them without any false starts. I will! I will!

EDIT: I’ve had a late thought. Perhaps mice got to them? We certainly have a lot of field mice here. All I found in the soil were soggy broad bean skins here and there and no sign of the peas!

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10 comments

  1. How can you be sure you have lost them, Karen? Broad beans are pretty hardy and the cold weather may just mean they are slower to get started. Hope you are successful with this batch, anyway.

  2. After all that snow and ice finally disappeared, I had a rummage in the soil and found them rotted.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear that Karen….I LOVE broad beans but had a disasterous time last year. After forgetting to plnat in Nov I germinated early indoors the following year. However, they went mad, got leggy and I had to put them out and risk frosts…which happened and I lost everything.

    This year I also germinated Aquadulcia Claudia but did so in pots outside so they were hardy. Managed to get to the allotment before the rain on Sunday and get them in! I’m ever hopeful this year.

  4. I like that idea of germinating them in pots outside….you have me thinking now Geoff. I don’t know what it is with me and broad beans, I always manage to grow a good crop in the end as you can see from the photo, but the beginning is always so much trouble! Good luck with yours :)

  5. Hi Karen, I’m new here via Flighty.

    How early in the autumn did you plant them? We’ve planted this variety earlier and earlier in the autumn and they have always given better crops than those planted the next year, whether in situ or in pots. We planted ours in mid September so they were already up before that first horrible snow in November. We didn’t lose a single plant this year and they’re all looking pretty good still (just a few blackened branches that we took off).

  6. I’m pretty sure I sowed them early November, they certainly wasn’t up before the snow hit them. Did you cover your plants before the snow hit?

  7. Nope, they have to survive without cover. It’s a pretty exposed spot too…those that were already more than a couple of inches tall (most I think) had been given twigs to help them stand but no cover.

    I suspect the key is that they’d already germinated and emerged before the snow came….even so I’m impressed that they still look so good!

  8. I guess they are tough during the cold once they get going, shame mine never even got a chance but hey ho we shall try again. Enjoy yours!

  9. I don’t have much luck with broad beans. which I sow in the spring. I wasn’t going to grow them this year but probably will!
    I’ve yet to try growing peas, and if I do it’ll be next next year perhaps in lieu of the broad beans especially if I don’t have any luck with them this year.

  10. Broad beans are meant to be pretty hardy, so I don’t think the snow should be too much of a problem, Karen. I have sown them in November and January and they have come up. However, some years ago I did have trouble getting them to germinate but we have improved our soil substantially by adding compost since then.

    I suspect that your soil may be getting water-logged. When I had problems getting the beans to germinate I did start them in pots, in potting compost. That worked the year I started them in January, but another year when I started them in the Autumn I forgot to water them over Winter assuming it would be wet, and it wasn’t.

    I usually use Aqua Dulce so I can sow them early and try to beat the black fly.

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