We had a great time this morning harvesting our crop of broad beans.
The beans grew to over 6′ tall and heavily laden with pods. I usually know when the beans are ready to pick, when they all begin to fall over and the pods are swollen. Here is a before shot of the bed. All over the place.
I gave Ben my garden clippers and he managed to fell the entire bean forest (his words), and Kim and I picked the beans off the stalks and shelled them.
He did a great job, and this is what was left when he was finished.
Then I cleaned it up and chopped each of the stalks down to the ground. I leave the root in because the broad bean roots have nitrogen nodules that break down into the soil and act as a fertiliser for the next crop. It is known as fixing nitrogen.
This is a shot of the bed all tidied up and ready for a top dress of sheep manure and compost.
So how much did we harvest? A whopping 3.6 kg (8 lbs) of Broad Beans (Fava). Last years harvest we only managed 1.8 kg (4 lbs) from the same area. The rain has been above average this season.
We also saved all of the finger sized pods and are having those with our roast dinner tonight. This is before Kim had topped and tailed them ready for dinner.
We also saved about 400 gm (14 oz) of fresh beans to be sauted in a little butter and garlic with dinner.
I blanched the remainder for freezing and we have enough for soups and stews for winter. It is such a great feeling to be able to harvest a crop like this with so little effort. I think I fertilised twice over the winter with Powerfeed via the water butts, and that was it. I did not weed at all and performed no pest control. I saved 5 long stalks and kept the first 4 largest pods attached and hung them upside down in the garage. When the seeds are dry I will store them in a sealed glass jar for next season.
Broad beans are just the most easiest and tastiest crop to grow over our temperate winter.