Broad beans are vegetables from the legume family that are very easy and quick to grow.
It is appreciated for its nutty taste and its ease in cooking, both raw and cooked.
The bean is sown very simply, from February to April everywhere in France and even a little earlier, from October to December, for Mediterranean climates and mild in winter.
> When to sow the beans?
The best time to sow the beans is in late winter and spring.
- Sowing beans in the ground: February-April
- Harvest of beans sown at the end of winter: May-June
Regions with mild winters (Midi, South-West, West)
- Sowing beans: October-November
- Harvest of beans sown in the fall: March-May
Successful sowing of beans:
- Loosen the soil approximately 30 cm.
- Make furrows 10-15 cm deep.
- Place a seed every 10 cm approximately then push it in slightly with your thumb. (An alternative is to sow 2 seeds per pocket, spacing them about 20 cm)
- Cover with only a few centimeters without settling the soil.
- Sprinkle in fine rain.
Warning: the bean is afraid of heat and drought which slows down the formation of pods, which is why we avoid too late cultivation.
After the beans have emerged:
Keep the soil loose without unwanted weeds, hoe regularly.
Good mulching limits the growth of weeds but also the number of waterings.
When the plants are about 15-20 cm tall, cut the foot 3-4 cm in order to keep it firmly on the ground.
From May, when the beans are forming or during flowering, pinch the ends of the shoots located above the 5th or 6th floor.
Stake the beans:
For the taller varieties and if your vegetable garden can fear strong winds, do not hesitate to stake your bean stems to prevent them from bending at the first gust of wind.
Good and bad associations with the bean:
The bean enjoys the company of artichokes, dill, or lettuce.
The bean dreads the presence of garlic, beets, shallots and onions.
Harvesting of the beans takes place about 3 months after sowing.
This period may vary depending on climatic conditions, the quality of the soil and the watering received by the beans.
How do you know when to harvest the beans so that they are neither too ripe nor too young?
Several signs allow us to make no mistake …
- We avoid leaving the pods to age too long on the stalk because the beans tend to harden quite quickly
- Pods can be harvested at 2/3 of their final length
- For a dry harvest, wait until the pods turn black on the stalk.
Conservation of beans
The best way to keep the beans green for a long time is to put them in the freezer.
You can also put them in the refrigerator but the conservation lasts only a few days.
Dry the beans to keep them:
You can also keep beans for months if they have been properly dried.
- Shell the beans
- Dry whole beans in a dry and ventilated place
- When using them, remove the second skin and soak them for ten hours in the water
Although easy to grow and maintain, it is important to watch out for the beans, the main enemy of which is the black aphid.
We notice it when it attacks the stems and sometimes even the pods, forming invasions of small black beasts that undermine the harvest of beans.
- Treat as soon as aphids appear.
- If necessary, remove the infested stem parts if the invasion is large and localized.
We will also watch out for the possible appearance of fungi such as mildew or bean rust.
Bean species and varieties
Here is a selection of different varieties of beans, interesting for their culture, their productivity or their taste interest.
- “Aguadulce”: hasty.
- “Three times white”: cultivated north of Valence, it is particularly hardy.
- “Red Épicure”: with purple-red grains, these beans are of great aesthetic interest.
- “Primal”: very productive, it is one of the best yields of beans.
- “From Seville”: coarse-grained white, relatively early.
- “Hystal”: ideal for early crops.
Virtues and benefits of the bean
The bean is low in calories and high in fiber, which makes it a digestive ingredient.
Rich in carbohydrates and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, or even calcium and vitamins, the bean has a positive action against fatigue and on the digestive system.
It is also often recommended for people with diabetes for the starches it contains which do not affect blood sugar.