Period and climate for the sowing of broad beans
For the sowing of the beans we will have to choose the period that best suits the climate of our region. In southern Italy it will be possible to start cultivation as early as autumn, to obtain the first beans in April. In central and northern areas it is better to prefer sowing in late winter or early spring. Obviously, the autumn cultivation will have a much longer cycle, practically double the spring one, which will bear the first fruits in just 3 months. The beans can be grown both in the plains and in the hills without too many pretensions from the point of view of exposure requirements. This plant can handle the harshness of winters quite well when temperatures drop below zero degrees, while excluding extreme frost. As for the heat, however, it tolerates prolonged periods of drought and torrid summers badly. Following the tradition we should sow the beans with the crescent moon.
The beans are not sown in seedbeds but in the open field. Before starting the sowing operations, it is good practice to check that the seeds available do not have holes, trying to select only those in good condition. There are various types of beans and, depending on the cultivation, we will choose the most suitable ones: early or late seeds. We will therefore have to establish the right distance, adjusting with a space of at least 50cm in order to allow manual care during the life of the plant. The seeds will be placed in shallow holes, without penetrating more than 5cm deep. We will cover the seeds with more soil and wet, waiting for the seedling to emerge and develop. To facilitate germination, it is possible to soak the bean seeds for a couple of days. The first plants will sprout within about twenty days. They can be grown on a single row or in multiple parallel rows for larger yields.
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Irrigation, soil and fertilization
Broad beans, like other legume plants, are a natural fertilizer. They can be used at the beginning of the rotations to facilitate subsequent cultivation. They do not require a particularly fertile soil and it is rarely necessary to fertilize. If necessary we can intervene with a hoeing and a digging, to eliminate the hardest clods. Eventually we will add some well-decomposed natural homemade compost. As for irrigation, it will depend on seasonality. During spring, autumn and winter, normal atmospheric precipitation may be more than enough. In case of prolonged periods of absence of rain it is good to intervene with moderate irrigation. Periodically we will refresh the soil with the help of a hoe, with a work of weeding, removing the weeds.
Sowing broad beans: Adversity, remedies, harvesting
Broad bean plants can be attacked by aphids, parasites and other diseases that can even irreparably compromise the health of the entire crop. The best known natural remedy is topping the broad bean plants. Moreover, this operation is particularly suitable for stimulating production. We will proceed with a clean and sharp tool like a simple pocket knife. The plant can also be attacked by rust, presenting anomalies on the leaf part. It can also suffer from fungal diseases. It would be advisable to avoid chemicals by limiting, if necessary, to the use of a specific pesticide available in gardening shops. The broad bean plant that is grown in spring bears fruit just 3 months after sowing.