I've watched my broad bean crop grow with great interest this year, and I've learned a lot about growing these beans, so I thought that I would share:
I've found that they like to be grown all close together in an enclosure. The 'paddock' helps them to support each other while they grow tall, and stops any wind from breaking their fragile stalks.
I've found that they are an enthusiastic and unruly bunch who like to grow way higher than my nets really want to allow, and that they struggle to stay within the confines of my string-paddock.
I've learned that when these little black dots start appearing on the leaves, they are not a fungal infection, they are in fact the start of the flowers...
I learned not to be disappointed when all of the flowers started to 'die' before anything grew, and it looked like the whole crop was going to be used as green manure...
because while I waited patiently, my crop has been ever so busy. Those flowers were in fact, not dying, they were being converted into beans! Every single flower is now starting to grow a bean of its own... and there were a lot of flowers.
Now I'm off on a new adventure... searching all of my recipe books, food magazines, and online food blogs for yummy looking dishes to make with my impending broad beans... because it looks like there is going to be a bumper crop*.
* and hopefully pride doesn't cometh before a fall in this instance!!