broad bean coles dwarf

Growing Broad Beans in Tasmania

Growing Broad Beans in Tasmania

Broad beans are a perfect crop for the cool temperate climate of Tasmania. They are a bushy annual that can grow from 1 to 1.8m tall depending on the variety, soils and weather. Broad Beans (Fava) are a legume thus from the Fabaceae family but are not from the Bean genus (Phaselous) and not directly related.

You can sow Broad Beans in late autumn and early winter where they will grow slowly, or you can sow in late winter/early spring (by mid-September latest I recommend) as soon as the soil can be worked before the weather warms. They grow best in temperatures ranging from 14-19°C but will grow in temperatures as low as 3 and as warm as 24°C. The aim is to get them flowering just after the risk of heavy frosts as passed (the plants are fine with frost but the flowers are not) and when the bees out and busily pollinating the flowers. I have actually sown the seed in mid-June before successfully so always feel free to try anything that may not be listed in books and guides!

How many should I plant? Generally I go 6 plants per family member. Doesn’t always work perfect but generally this ratio provides plenty of broad beans each season.

Soil

I have found they grow well in most soils outside of waterlogged clay. Some organic compost and/or manures at planting is pretty much all you need to get going. Some potash at sowing and in late August is useful to aide healthy flower development. If your soil is acidic, some lime may be worthwhile (Broad Beans like a 6 to 7 ph), however I have never noticed any issues personally.

Sowing & Growing

Sow two seeds per hole around 5 cm deep and 20-25cm apart. Rows I space 30 to 45cm. It is useful to sow a few extra within the patch as if any have not germinated, you can easily move these to those positions. Thin to one plant once seedlings are up and growing well.

I find broad beans do not need a great deal of fertiliser outside of monthly watering with seaweed or fish fertilisers such as Seasol or Charlie Carp. They probably don’t even need this, but it is good for the microorganisms.

With the spring winds in Tasmania, it is well worth putting in wooden stakes around the perimeter of the bean patch and stringing the beans up to prevent them being knocked over. Once the plants are getting to 1m high, it is well worth doing this. If the plants get tall, feel free to nip a little off the tops to keep the plants manageable.

When picking pods to shell, wait until the beans are visible through the pod, but don’t wait too long. The bean is at its best when the ‘scar’ (the mark on the edge of the bean) is white or green – when this turns brown, the beans get tougher.

If you notice flowers are not forming pods, it is a lack of bees pollinating OR a cold period in spring (surely this doesn’t happen in Tasmania!!) has prevented the bees from being active. Some seasons there are pods low, then a gap before more pods have formed due to a cold winter front arriving in mid spring.

When the harvest is finished, don’t rip out those nitrogen fixing roots, cut them to ground level.

Happy Growing

Dave

Broad Beans at the SHOP

Growing Broad Beans in Tasmania

broad beans staked
One quick way of staking the broad beans to withstand our winds

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Shopping Cart