The humble broad bean

The humble broad bean

Broad beans are a great source of protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals that can be easily grown in Ireland. Whether you’re a novice gardener or a master green thumb, these beans are easy to sow, grow and harvest, with a few tips in mind. With their attractive flowers you can even grow them in your flower borders.


Depending on the variety broad beans can be sown in autumn (September to November), or in spring from late February until late April. The ideal soil temperature for germination is between 12-15°C but they'll usually germinate fine at anything above 8°C. Broad bean plants are very hardy, down to -8°C, making them reliable and easy to grow. Choose a spot that receives full sun and is sheltered from strong winds. Make sure the soil is well-drained and add plenty of compost or manure to increase fertility. Dig a shallow trench and sow the beans, spacing them 10-15cm apart and covering with soil to a depth of 5cm.


Once your beans are sown, keep them well-watered and weed-free to give them the best chance of success. If your beans are tall and spindly, you can support them with stakes or string. As the season progresses, you will begin to see flowers and pods forming.


When the pods are plump, you can begin harvesting. The beans are best eaten young, when the skins are still tender. To harvest, simply snap the pods off the plant and shell them. For storage, broad beans can be 'blanched' and frozen or dried and kept in airtight containers or jars.

Nutritional Benefits

Broad beans are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and B vitamins. They also contain antioxidants and fiber, making them a great addition to your diet.


Broad beans can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and salads to curries and casseroles. Here are three of our favorite recipes that include broad beans as a main ingredient:

  1. Broad Bean and Feta Salad: Combine cooked broad beans, feta, cucumber, tomatoes and fresh herbs for a delicious and healthy salad.
  2. Broad Bean and Bacon Risotto: Fry bacon and onion until golden, then add cooked broad beans, Arborio rice and stock for a hearty and comforting dish.
  3. Broad Bean and Mint Soup: Simmer cooked broad beans with onions, garlic and fresh mint for a delicious and warming soup.

Broad beans are a great addition to any Irish garden, and can be easily grown and harvested for a delicious and nutritious harvest. You can order broad bean seeds along with many other vegetable seeds here >>>

If you don't already, why not give something a grow this year as there is little more satisfying than cooking something you have just harvested from your own garden.

*The author generated the above text, in part, using GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model.