THESE large flat beans are among the earliest in the pea family to be ready for harvesting – and will taste so much better than many of the tough versions you find in supermarkets.
If you sowed them under cloches in early spring, you should have given them a head start.
Pick the pods when the seeds inside are just showing and are still soft, picking the lower pods first. You can also eat the young pods whole, like you would sugar snap peas or mangetout.
To check that they are ready for shelling, open one up and look at the scar where the seed is joined to the pod, which should be green or white.
If the scar is discoloured, the broad beans are past their best. When picking, pull the pods downwards, twisting them, but if they are too tough to break off, cut them, as you don't want to damage the main stem.
Pick regularly – any surplus can be blanched and frozen.
Once the main harvest is over, remove the plants and replace them with late-flowering perennials.