Easy to grow and taste delicious in raw salads

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

Last week I did mention broad-beans briefly, so let’s look at them again.

They are easy to grow and delicious. You can eat them in raw salads or boiled with your roast dinner.

Growing broad beans is easier than you think. Plant or sow in double rows 15-22cm apart with 60cm between each double row

They can be sown in the soil in October to overwinter, but they will perform much better if given some protection during the worst of the winter weather.

The variety to sow for this is Aquadulce which is a hardy one.

These seeds will germinate in three or four weeks. These young plants will overwinter and as the milder months arrive with the warmer weather they will grow on and give you an early crop.

You can sow broad beans in the soil now using Aquadulce. But the best option is to sow some inside now using the cardboard inserts from toilet rolls as mentioned last week, harden them off and plant outside.

If you sow in batches in March, April and early May you will have broad beans all summer.

Growing broad beans is easier than you think. Plant or sow in double rows 15-22cm apart with 60cm between each double row.

Always sow a few extra at the end of the row so that you can replace any seeds that fail to germinate.

The beans will soon grow on, and once the first beans start to form pinch out the tip. This will encourage fruit to set and reduce the risk of attack from blackfly.

The beans usually mature in three or four months. If you sow in the soil in autumn you will need to give them protection during the worst winter weather, garden fleece or cloches are ideal.

You can freeze your broad beans after blanching. When you pinch the top of the plants out, keep those tops because they are delicious steamed and buttered.

During February and March heathers are at their peak. These are mainly Erica cultivators, especially E Carnea and E Darleyensis.

In mid to late summer there is another flush of flowers, primarily from Calluna cultivators.

Most heather pruning is carried out between late February and early April.

An annual trim helps to keep the plants bushy and compact and encourages better flowering.

If you prune heathers once the flowers have faded you won’t go far wrong because there are heathers for all year colour.

Using a sharp pair of hand shears or secateurs, clip back the dead flower heads and any straggly growth of summer and autumn flowering Erica, Calluna and Daboecia Species.