• Alison Murray

Things to do in the garden during lockdown day 27: plant your broad beans

Spring grown broad beans can be planted out once they've hardened off, they're hardy fellows and are usually fine if there is a late frost. Plant in double rows and they'll support each other without the need for netting.

Plant the beans 15-20 cm apart in staggered rows and each double row around 45cm apart. Planting in this zig-sag manner means the plants should support each other nicely. Putting a couple of layers of garden twine around the outside will stop them flopping outwards.

Blackfly love broad beans! I have planted a few French marigolds around the edge to attract any them away from the plants. When the first pods have started to form on the lower branches pinching out the tips of the plants seems to help prevent blackfly and also encourages the pods to set. This year I've planted 'Dreadnought'

Once your beans are about 15cm tall sow some more direct to get a staggered crop. I ought to do that now, but there is a slight lack of space!

You can plant some broad bean cultivars like 'Aquadulce Claudia' and directly into the ground in November, they over winter as tiny plants and get going earlier than their spring sown sisters. They are also less likely to be susceptible to black fly if planted late autumn.

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