Tips for your organic vegetable garden by Dermot O’Mara. December is a great month for sowing broad beans.
Believe it or not, December is a great month for sowing broad beans. Broad beans are an excellent source of fibre, including soluble fibre, which can help lower blood cholesterol, and they contain a range of vitamins and minerals.
Broad beans do not like waterlogged or dry soil. Soil should be clear of all weeds and dug to a depth of 10cm. First rake and level the bed.
Sow the beans to a depth of 2 cm. Beans should be sown 15 cm to 20 cm apart in a straight row. If sowing multiple rows have them 50cm to 60 cm apart. Insert a stake at the end of each row and every three meters within the rows. As the plants grow in the spring you can run string on either side of the stakes to give support to the plants.
The best varieties for sowing this time of year are Super Aquadulce and Aquadulce Supersimonia.
Broad beans fix nitrogen in the soil and also attract bees. Watch for mouse damage throughout the winter. Harvesting should begin in late May and should continue until early July. Sometimes one may get a black bean aphid on the tips of the plants as the plants mature. Pinch out the tips and remove to the compost heap and your problem is solved.
Broad beans can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in stir-fry’s, soups, stews or on their own. They can also be frozen for future use.
ENJOY AND HAPPY GARDENING!
Sunny Meadow Organic Farm,
Powers Cross, Galway.