Every vegetable gardener has to decide when broad beans are ready to harvest.
A lot depends on how the individual likes to eat them – small, sweet & tender, or large with flavour!
If the pods have swollen and the beans inside are properly formed, but still really small and sweet, the whole pod can be cooked and eaten with the beans inside.
It is always a balance between yield and sweet tenderness. If yield is the objective, the beans should be left until they are a bit bigger. But if the aim is to experience the exquisite taste of fresh, tender beans, it is worth sacrificing a bit of yield.
The beans change colour when they are ready, and become pale green all over. Click this
photo to show the mature beans on the top, which have developed a pale, uniform colour. The row on the bottom are not quite ready. They are a brighter green, and each bean has various shades of green on it.
It is important to consider other vegetables and when they will be ready to harvest. There is no point leaving the broad beans to get larger, if veg are scarce, or if there will be a surplus of other vegetables at the same time as the broad beans are picked.
- I have just harvested a crop of mature broad beans. However, when shelling them I found that in most the bean had not developed at all. Can yo advise what may have caused this?
- Hi BeatriceSorry to hear about your disappointing broad beans. This has happened to us when we picked the first beans in the spring- but they do improve as the season progresses.Broad beans need the right day-length and a temperature of about 20°C at flowering. If the beans are planted too early in the spring, & there is a blip in the weather as the first beans flowered, the beans will not set well.Crops planted too late will also produce low yields and will be affected by high temperatures later in the season.
Broad beans produce less well in windy areas. Double rows (20 cm apart) help the plants to withstand wind. Otherwise a windbreak pays dividends.
Hope the next batch is 100%!
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