While there are some things we can start off indoors in February, March is really the beginning of the busy planting period. Springtime usually sees frosts coming to an end, warmer days and plenty of rainfall to help those early shoots.
Why not try planting some broad beans with your child. These are easy to grow and a tasty addition to summer salads and curries. By sewing them now (February – April outdoors) you’ll also hopefully have a harvest in May – June which is a nice filler while you wait for main summer crops (of tomatoes etc).
What you need to do!
We have outlined the best way to sew your broad beans in a border or raised bed, but if you don’t have the space, then a couple in a large pot is still possible and can yield yummy results.
- First you need to ideally use well drained soil. So garden compost or well rotted manure. These plants do not do well in heavy clay soils.
- Help your child plant the broad beans (nice large seeds for little hands to grasp!), about 3 inches deep and 9 inches apart.
- While you are waiting for the plants to grow, show your child how to pull out any weeds, water well (unless your have heavy rainfall of course), and if growing tall varieties add in strong sticks to support the stems.
- These are lovely and easy to grow so a great first garden plant to grow with your child. The only problem we have found at Little Muddy Boots is blackly (a type of aphid) also rather enjoy them! To minimise this, when the lower flowers have started to turn into bean pods, it is best to pinch out the tips. The tips are sweet and sticky and that’s what attracts the black fly if left on. Do not throw away the tips though! They can be eaten as a delicious steamed vegetable.
- Come May, you should have your first swollen bean pods that are lovely and easy for your child to harvest ready for a yummy dinner.
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Before taking part in the above activity ensure children are supervised at all times. Be aware of allergens.