TENDER young broad beans may not be as popular as French or runner, but they are packed with protein and highly versatile, ideal for eating hot or cold and they also freeze well.
Sow the seeds in November in small pots or cell trays in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame and stand them in a protected spot outdoors in late January or February, bringing them in at night if frost is forecast.
Plant them out when the soil starts to warm up in early March in well drained, not too acidic soil, which has been enriched with compost or manure a month before planting.
Alternatively, sow any variety in a greenhouse in early spring and plant out when the seedlings are around 10cm high, spacing plants around 20cm apart in double rows.
Early sowings will produce a good crop of beans in early summer. They should be harvested when they are just showing through the pods. Good varieties include Meteor, which produces an early crop from an early spring sowing, while Red Epicure has reddish-brown beans with a superb flavour.