Stereo produces small pods containing an average of 5 beans of excellent flavour & quality. Also suited to early harvest to be eaten in a 'mange tout' form. Can be sown as late as May.
Prefers a fairly heavy loam but succeeds in a sunny position in most soils that are well-drained. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes dry conditions according to some report, whilst another says that it is drought tolerant once established. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 7.
Broad beans are often cultivated for their edible seed and sometimes also as a green manure crop.
The burnt stems are rich in potassium and can be used in making soap.
Grows well with carrots, cauliflowers, beet, cucumber, cabbages, leeks, celeriac, corn and potatoes, but is inhibited by onions, garlic and shallots.
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in succession from late winter until early summer. Germination should take place in about 7 - 10 days.
The autumn sown varieties are more susceptible to 'chocolate spot' fungus, this problem can be alleviated by the addition of potash to the soil. Black fly can be a major problem in late spring. Autumn sown crops are less likely to be affected. Pinching out the soft tips of the plants, one they are tall enough and are beginning to flower, can reduce the problem since the blackfly always start on the soft shoots and then spread to the older stems.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Young leaves can be eaten cooked. They are very nutritious and can be used like spinach.
Broad bean seeds are very nutritious and are frequently used as items of food. There are, however, some potential problems to their use if they are consumed in large quantities, which can cause the disease 'Favism' in susceptible people.
The immature seeds can be eaten raw when they are small and tender, as they grow older they can be cooked as a vegetable.