Broad beans are one of the most ancient and also one of the easiest vegetables in cultivation. Each seed gives about three or four square sectioned stems, the standard varieties growing about 4 ft tall and the dwarfs 12 -18 in. In some varieties the fragrant white and black flowers are followed with short and broad leathery pods, others are long and narrow.

Inside these pods are the broad beans- round or kidney-shaped, white or green depending on the variety chosen. Begin picking as early as the end of May if you have pampered the crop, but even the maincrop sown in the ordinary way in early April will be ready in July- the first of the garden beans to grace your table. Scientists now tell us that it is not really a bean, but actually something more closely related to a plant grown as cattle food.

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