Saturday, October 7, 2017

Plant peas and broad beans in Oct/Nov for early spring harvests

Overwintering Austrian peas in early April
Sunday, October 1, 2017

If you’re after a really early crop of broad beans or peas, why not sow them in autumn?  They can be sown from October to early November and with just a little protection from harsh frosts you could be harvesting peas and beans as early as April and pea greens all winter long.

The advantages of autumn sowing is that your plants will be able to develop a strong root system over the fall and winter, overwintering and bursting into growth again in spring, meaning that you get an earlier harvest in next year’s garden.

Broad beans are also called fava beans.  You want to choose the varieties that are cold hardy.  Some that fit the bill are Aquadulce Claudia, Sweet Lorane, Superaguadulce, and Broad Windsor to name just a few.  Favas are best sown in October or November to allow them to grow into hardy young plants before winter sets in, strong enough to withstand the winter frosts. Then, when the warmer spring weather arrives, they quickly put on growth and produce delicious broad beans in early spring. 

Round-seeded pea varieties are ones that you can typically plant in the fall for spring harvests.  Their greens are a great addition to winter salads, too.  To name just a few that can overwinter, try Douce de Provence, Austrian, Kelvedon Wonder, Meteor, and Douce Provenceis peas.  This will ensure the young plants are established before the winter sets in. Their pretty flowers are a welcome sight in early spring.

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