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Best Plant to Sow this November

Just like how the colony of ants started to gather and store their food before the rainy season, instead of sitting around doing nothing like the grasshopper, in the famous fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper, it's advisable to start sowing some seeds before the upcoming winter freezes the ground, as well as to allow an early harvest in the middle of the succeeding year.


As everyone knows, besides roses and bushes, there are only a handful of plants that can be sown at this time of the year and one of the best is Broad beans or "Aquadulce claudia"; these are available through almost any seed marketing firm. Though the broad beans' main sowing time of the year is March and April, it is perfectly acceptable to sow them this November, covered or under cloches (especially during extreme snowfall). The broad beans will then be ready for harvest after about 25 weeks. 

Sowing and Planting

Start by digging a pit about 2 inches deep and 8 inches wide, and remove weeds, small rocks and old crops from the soil. It is also best to incorporate or add compost or organic matter like manure. This will ensure that the soil is less drenched in water throughout the winter. The perfect way to sow broad beans is in double rows that are approximately 20cm-60cm apart from each other. It is of great importance that you make sure to properly fertilise the soil in which you plan to sow your beans. The area should also be in a spot with good sunlight and away from other plants, specifically from the onion family. 

The most preferably way to plant the broad beans is to sketch a fairly straight line next to a plank, using the edge of a rake, then plance the seeds 2 inches deep into the soil, 20cm apart.




Watering is extremely important to all plants. However, contrary to what is often done, watering from the top of the plant (allowing the water to drop down to the soil) should not be practised on broad bean plants for this will cause the promotion of moulds and other plant problems. It is advisable to pour or drizzle the water directly on to the soil instead. In this way, water will then go directly to the plant's roots where it will serve its utmost purpose.

It is imperative to stake or somehow improvise a support for your beans. Beans grow quickly and will later become loaded with pods, causing the plant to slump without something to hold or support it with. Using a sturdy long piece of wood, tie the plant around with twines or strings in an upright position.

Just like any other crops or plants, broad beans are not immune to 'bug problems'. However, besides this, this plant is also highly susceptible to weeds. It is imperative to frequently check for sprouting weeds - remove any weeds by hand, as a broad bean plant's roots are fairly shallow and fragile, therefore using a rake is likely to destroy, or accidentally remove, the roots.

You may also consider installing a row covering your broad beans as a precaution for house pets, bigger bugs and rodents that may obliterate the plant. This will also be a perfect protection against aphids, which are the broad beans' greatest predator.

Happy planting!

By Ellis Wakefield

To see more articles like this, and to learn more about vegetable planting, have a look at http://redshed.co.uk/blog/vegetable-gardening/.   


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