A chilly, clear day through the greenhouse glass

Overwintering Broad Beans

Ellen Mary takes a brief look back at 2022's hot summer and talks about how there is always something to sow, even in autumn.

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October seems to have come around so fast and the rain we all wanted some of during the summer has most definitely brought some of the later flowering summer plants alive now. My Dahlias, Zinnia and Asters are all so beautiful and vibrant, in fact much more so than most of the summer flowers that struggled in the hot, dry summer weather. Each year brings challenges for the gardener and I think 2022 has been a big lesson in resilience and sustainable gardening. Mostly how important it is to collect rainwater and how very beneficial mulching has been to retaining moisture for plants. So if you haven’t got a waterbutt, now is a great time to get one installed on your Rhino Greenhouse before the winter rain.

Even though the weather is cooling off rapidly, there is still some sowing to be done undercover. If you want to overwinter board beans, October and November are great months to sow them, especially if you are in milder parts of the UK. If not, wait until spring. Ideally, sow them in well-drained soil and protect them with a fleece or cloche. I pop them in about 5cm deep, 15cm apart and 4cm apart but always check the seed packet for instructions. If you have a small space and don’t need to get between rows, they can easily grow 20cm apart. They will be ready to pick from late spring and are a great early harvest after the winter.

I have to admit to not being a fan of shelling the beans so picking them young and cooking them whole is ideal but I also found a delicious broad bean humous recipe which makes them well worth shelling!

There are also plenty of winter lettuce varieties and cut flowers that can be sown at this time of year, so while you are starting to clear up the garden, don’t forget to leave plenty of seedheads for over winter interest and wildlife and carry on sowing (you might just need to put a warm hat on at some point)!

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