Broad beans in a back yard

Broad beans are one of the hardiest crops and those planted in autumn will stand through snow and frost ready to sprint off when spring comes. Spring sown ones would usually be planted in March, but you can get a head start by sowing some at home and planting out later.

Beans have deep roots so I use loo roll tubes, standing in a mushroom punnet, filling each tube with multipurpose compost and planting a bean 2cm down. The whole tube can be planted out once there are two good leaves and the weather warms up a bit. Keep somewhere light and not too warm or the plants can get leggy.

If you have no garden you can use ½ gallon milk jugs to make planters. By cutting the bottle in the right place you create a built in cane holder while the gap between the two halves can hold stones for balast and acts as a water reservoir.

Putting 8 in a mini crate helps hold them upright and you can tie the canes together for extra stability.

You can grow these anywhere sunny, and if they are in a porch or a sheltered spot will give you an early crop. Feed with tomato food after the first week as they have limited soil.

Even if you have a veg plot, growing some plants away from others means you can be sure saved seeds will breed true. Mine were Crimson Flowered which make for a pretty display.