How to Grow Broad Beans Easily

How to Grow Broad Beans Easily

Have you wanted to grow broad beans yourself in your backyard (and not just munching on them as snacks)? It’s not that hard if you follow the basics. Broad beans are popular because of the nutritional value they are loaded with, but what makes broad beans stand out is their amazing taste.

Contrary to some uninformed opinions, you can grow broad beans (Vicia faba) in all sorts of regions and climates. They are cultivated all around the world, and they are often called fava beans. Now read on to learn how to grow broad beans.

How to Grow Broad Beans – Preparation

Your plants will grow only as well as how you start things off when planting them. Beginners often make the mistake of rushing the preparation which leads to poorer results. So just take care of three important things to get a nice broad bean harvest. These are:

  • Choose the right time of year
  • Choose the right soil
  • Choose the best seeds

broad bean plant

Choose the Right Time of the Year

Broad beans grow best when it’s not too hot. They like cool weather. In some places, you can even plant them in late winter.

Wait until it’s warmer in spring if you live in colder areas. Plant them when the ground isn’t too cold. Broad beans need soil that’s not too chilly. They like it between 50°F to 65°F (10°C to 18°C).

It’s ideal to plant them when the days are getting longer. This helps them grow better. Choose the right time for planting your broad beans and they’ll give you lots of tasty beans.

Choose the Perfect Soil

Good soil helps broad beans grow well. Find soil that’s loose and not too hard. Broad beans like soil that drains well. They don’t like wet feet! Test your soil. Make sure it’s not too acidic. Aim for a pH of around 6.0 to 7.0. If your soil is too acidic, add some lime to make it more alkaline.

Mix in some compost or aged manure to the soil. This gives the beans nutrients. Before planting, make sure that you loosen the soil to make it nice and fluffy. This helps the roots grow easily.

Choose the Best Seeds

You can’t expect a good plant if the seed isn’t high quality. Look for seeds that are plump and firm. Avoid seeds that are wrinkled or damaged.

We suggest getting them from a reliable source that ensures the seeds are fresh and not too old. Check the expiration date if there is one. If possible, select seeds labeled as “certified organic” or “non-GMO.” These are healthier options.

broad bean flower
Broad bean flower.

Consider the variety of broad beans you want to grow. There are 2 main different types of broad beans, the longpods and Windsor/short pods, with varying sizes and flavors. Some are better for eating and others as a cover crop. Choose a variety that suits your taste preferences and growing conditions. Read the instructions on the seed packet carefully. It will tell you how deep to plant the seeds and how far apart.

broad bean seed pod
Broad bean seed pod.

Basically, longpods have longer pods and their seeds are kidney shaped, each pod often containing 5 or more seeds. Windsors have shorter pods, and more rounded, juicier seeds. They are the earliest cultivars of broad beans from human intervention and tend to taste better (although this is subjective).

Some recommended varieties of broad bean to grow include:

  • Meteor
  • Witkiem Manita
  • Masterpiece Green Longpod
  • Monica
  • Aqualduce Claudia
  • The Sutton
  • Bunyards Exhibition

Planting Your Broad Beans

Things get a lot simpler from here if you spend time and effort preparing! Planting the beans is perhaps the most fun part of this whole process as you get to experience everything first-hand. There are two strategies you can follow.

Direct Outdoor Sowing

  • Plant the broad beans directly outside in your garden.
  • Find a sunny spot and make sure the soil isn’t too wet.
  • Then, clear away weeds and debris after you loosen the soil gently.
  • Make shallow trenches and place the seeds inside.
  • Cover them with soil and pat down gently. Finish it up with a little water to go on top.
broad bean plantings outdoors
Broad bean plantings outdoors.

Starting Indoors

  • Get small pots or containers and fill them with potting soil.
  • Put one seed in each pot, push it down gently, and cover it with soil.
  • Keep it damp but not soaked and put the pots in a warm place.
  • Wait for the seeds to sprout, usually in about 7-14 days.
  • Move them outdoors once they sprout.
month old broad bean plants
Month old broad bean plants grown in a container.

Care and Maintenance Requirements of Broad Beans

By now you must have realized that growing broad beans is fun and simple! It’s always an exciting moment to see the first seeds sprout. But you also need to be a little more careful and make sure that you take good care of the seedlings. Beginners tend to mess up these things, and that’s exactly what you need to be careful about!


There’s a simple rule to watering broad beans. Pat the soil. Water it if the top layer of the soil feels dry. You need to overcome the urge to water the plant every few hours as it does more bad than good.


Spread a layer of mulch around the base of each plant. You can use materials like straw, leaves, or grass clippings. Mulch helps keep the soil moist. It also prevents weeds from growing. Just make sure not to cover the stems and give the plants some breathing space.


You need to choose a balanced fertilizer for vegetables and broad beans are no exception. Follow the instructions on the package to apply the fertilizer according to the recommended dosage. Don’t add too much as it can make your seedlings wilt!

Pest and Disease Management

Check your plants often. Look for any signs of bugs or sick leaves. If you see any, take them off right away. Bugs can spread fast, so it’s best to act quickly. You can also use natural things like soap or neem oil to get rid of bugs. Aphids, slugs, snails, grasshoppers, and cutworms are some of the common pests of broad beans.

broad bean pests aphids
A common broad bean pest is aphids.

Meanwhile, fungal infections like chocolate spot fungus and soil borne pathogens can and do afflict broad beans, and can be treated with fungicides. To reduce the incidence of disease, never plant broad beans in the same place twice in a row for the following year.

And don’t forget about your garden’s cleanliness. Keep it neat and tidy. Bugs and sickness like messy places. Another tip is not to water the leaves! Extra moisture can make any sickness worse.

Harvesting and Storage of Broad Beans: The Bottom Line

Broad beans take some time to mature, usually in about 15 to 16 weeks. That’s about 4 months. Now give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve successfully grown broad beans. Look for ones that are big and full to harvest. All you need to do is gently twist them on the stalk. And they’ll fall right off!

harvested broad beans
Harvested broad beans.

The advantage of broad beans that shines now is that you can store them for long periods. Just pat them dry after washing and store them in an airtight container. But there’s also a slim chance that your plants didn’t give any yield. Don’t be sad in that case. Take charge and start again as this is more about the process than the result!

Spread the love