The broad bean (Vicia faba), a popular human food and animal forage, is easy to grow. The stiff-leaved legume grows up to 5 feet high, depending on the variety, and beans appear in pods that measure 2 to 12 inches. A cool season crop, the broad bean requires four to five months from planting to harvest. In regions with warm winters, it thrives from September to March; where the winter's cold, the broad bean must be planted after all danger of frost has passed in the spring.
Choose a planting site with well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. The broad bean prefers full sunlight and shelter from high winds.
Till the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Add aged manure and peat moss until the soil feels crumbly to the touch.
Space rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Plant beans 2 inches deep and space each bean 6 inches apart.
Apply 1 inch of aged manure over the soil's surface and water thoroughly. Well-aged compost can be substituted.
Water the beans when the soil begins to feel dry to the touch. Keep the beans moist but not water-logged.
Pinch the top two leaves of the broad bean plant back after germination occurs. This will make the plant bush out and produce more bean pods.
Stake the bean plants when they appear to be in danger of falling over. Stick simple garden stakes or bamboo shoots into the soil beside each plant and loosely tie with cotton rope to offer support.