HOW TO GROW THE AUTUMN BROAD BEAN ‘Aquadulce Claudia’
Freshly picked, small, young broad beans are packed full of Vitamins A, C and E. They are also a good source of protein and fiber. It yields well and produces tender white beans of good quality. Freeze any surplus for future use.
Of all the broad bean varieties ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is universally recognized as being the best for an autumn sowing. It establishes itself quickly and is able to produce a very early crop.
In fact it actually needs the cold winter temperatures in order to perform so plant early in cool conditions and try not to sow any later than mid January as this will have a detrimental effect on both the quality and the quantity of the harvest. If the ground is frozen before sowing, lay and secure some polythene or other material down to warm it up.
‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is a reliable cropper, yielding well and producing large pods filled with good quality, tender white beans. Once harvested this versatile vegetable can be used for freezing, fresh shelled beans or dried beans.
Although broad beans prefer a deep, free draining soil they are in fact tolerant of most soil types so long as they are not water-logged.
A week or so before sowing you can add a nitrogen feed to the soil. While it is true that broad beans have nitrogen fixing bacteria in little nodules along the roots, they will not function properly until the plants begin to grow away. This extra nitrogen feed at the beginning of their growth cycle will help to get them off to a good start.
‘Aquadulce Claudia’ is not a very tall variety but can still suffer with stems breaking or falling over with the weight of the beans - they are especially at risk in strong winds. If you secure stakes on the outside of each rows and run wire or strong string along them, this will support the crop as it matures. Should you wish to, you can cover your crop with horticultural fleece to help to keep off the worst of the weather.
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