Broad bean crop sheet


Broad beans are the hardiest type of bean grown in Britain. They can be sown in autumn or spring when the soil temperature is above 12 degrees Celsius. 

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: Early Autumn, Late Autumn, Early Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science

Learning objectives

  • Learn how to sow seeds
  • Learn what seeds and plants need to grow
  • Learn to plant at a specified distance
  • Learn to harvest vegetables


Organic matter or fertiliser should be incorporated at least one month beforehand. The soil, raised bed or planter should have already been cultivated, be weed free with a fine, crumbly texture and be watered ready for seed sowing.

Equipment needed

To plant the seeds in a pot:  

  • Compost, pot, label & pencil and seeds (check they are suitable to sow at that time of year)

For planting:

  • Rake or hand cultivator
  • Trowel or bulb planter
  • Measuring stick
  • Watering can with a rose
  • Bamboo canes and string to support tall stems

Step by step

  1. Fill a 9cm pot with compost and plant a single seed 4-5cm deep. Place pot on a windowsill or in a glasshouse and water when the compost is dry.
  2. When the plant is approximately 5cm high, plant it outdoors. Make a hole with the trowel slightly bigger than the pot and ensure the base of the plant is level with the soil, firm in and water well.
  3. Plants should be planted every 30cm apart and in rows 30cm apart. Smaller or patio varieties can be grown in containers.
  4. In colder climates, it may be useful to cover seedlings with horticultural fleece for the winter.
  5. If the stems grow tall, make a framework from four canes and string around the row. This will support the plants and keep the beans off the soil. New shoots at the top of the plant can be pinched out above the flower buds.
  6. Harvest the beans from June onwards when the pods become swollen. Younger beans are more tasty.

Hints & tips

  • Watch out for mice eating your broad bean seeds.
  • The 'Sutton' and 'Aquadulce' varieties are most suitable for autumn sowing.

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