At the start of the winter growing season I began an experiment. Would saved broad bean seeds grow better than commercial seed? I wanted to see if there was any difference. You can see that my saved seed was a different colour than the commercial seed. Neither seed had been treated, so I thought that it would be a fair test.
You can read about how I planned the test and sowed the seed back in May 2014.
Well the verdict is in. Drum roll please…
From what I have observed, there is no difference in height or yield of the different plants. The controls that I put in place were that I watered the bed evenly with the irrigation system. Both parts of the bed received equal sunlight; about 6 hours a day. Both batches were fertilised with the same amount of liquid fertiliser, one watering can distributed over each batch.
The flowers have stopped appearing, so it is nearly time to harvest the entire bed, which Ben and I will do during next weekend.
I also took a split test photo to see if the bean pods looked any different between the two batches. Earlier on in the year, I marked where the first batch ended and the second started.
Not very scientific, I know, but under the circumstances it was the best I could do. Each plant had three pods per plant. I tasted the bean from each type and found no discernible difference.
Both were absolutely delicious.
An interesting fact is that The Seed Savers’ Handbook states that Broad Bean seed is viable for four years if stored in good conditions. I will be saving the seed from four plants this year using my usual method. I cut the plants off near the soil and hang them upside down from the carport rafters with string until they dry out. Easy as pie. I then collect the seed from each pod and store in an airtight glass jar in my seed box inside the house. The seed box is nice and dark.
So there you have it. Same result with both types. The best thing about this years’ crop is that there has been no sign of Broad Bean Rust. All plants are very healthy even though we have had some very strong northerly winds that usually spread the rust fungi.
How many of you planted this wonderful bean this year? Did you have any issues that I may be able to help out with? Should me a question via comment, and I will endeavour to answer it.