As its name suggests, Broad Bean ‘Express’ is the fastest maturing variety available and an early spring sowing will out yield all others. This winter hardy, RHS AGM variety produces up to 34 tender, tasty pods per plant. Broad Bean ‘Express’ makes an excellent broad bean for freezing as it doesn’t discolour. Height: 90cm (35″). Spread: 45cm (18″). Companion planting: Try growing broad beans with summer savoury to help repel black bean aphids, a common pest of broad beans.
Direct sow broad bean seed under cloches in February, or without protection from March to April. For particularly early crops some varieties of broad beans may also be sown outdoors under cloches from early autumn to late winter. Grow beans in full sun on rich fertile, well manured soil with protection from strong winds. Plant broad beans in double rows set 23cm (9″) apart and allowing at least 60cm (24″) between each double row. Sow broad beans at a depth of 5cm (2″) deep and a distance of 23cm (9″) apart within each row and water well. Germination usually takes around 10 days.
When growing broad beans, support the plants by placing a cane or stout stick at each corner of a double row and tying in with string, especially in windy gardens. Keep well watered, particularly as flowers begin to set and hoe between rows regularly. Pinch out the growing tips after the first flowers have set pods to deter blackfly and encourage further pods to set. Harvest broad beans when the pods are well filled and the seed still soft.