Broad Bean 'The Sutton' has a bushy dwarf plant habit, ideal for small gardens and very useful exposed locations. Growing only 35 to 45cm (15 to 18in) tall this variety also has the added benefit that is does not need support. They produce a huge amount of tasty beans for such small plants. Each plant produces 3 to 4 stems with clusters of 15cm (6in) pods, each pod contains around six deliciously tender beans
The plants produce clusters of beautiful white flowers and would not look out of place even if you grew them amongst flowers in a border.
The flowers have the standard white wing petals, but each hold a black spot, which is a true black, not deep purple or blue as is the case in many "black" flowers. The flowers smell absolutely beautiful and excellent attractant and nectar source for bees and other beneficial insects.
The Sutton is very suitable for successional sowings commencing late autumn (under cloches) or late winter/early summer in the open. Harvest June to August, they are also suitable for freezing.
Broad Bean “The Sutton” has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
It is also recommended by the River Cottage Handbook Veg Patch.
Sowing: For the earliest crops sow from early autumn to late winter or sow in spring.
The Sutton is extremely hardy and perfect for over-winter crops. To produce a very early crop sow up to February under cloches. It can be sown indoors February to April in pots of moist compost, or sown directly outdoors February to May and October to November.
Broad beans are best suited to a cool climate, and they only grow satisfactorily at temperatures below 15°C (60°F). If sowing in the autumn, choose a sheltered position. The ideal soil is one which has been manured for a previous crop.
Broad beans are traditionally sow in double rows 7cm (2in.) deep, 23cm (9in.) apart in the row. The double rows should be spaced 23cm (9in.) apart and a distance of 40 to 60cm (18 to 24in.) should be left before the next set of double rows. Plant seed 5cm deep. They should be planted or thinned to 20cm apart in staggered rows 30cm apart. Sow extra seeds at the end of the row for transplants.
As the beans get taller, you will need to provide extra support to your plants. A common mistake of the first-time gardener is not giving plants support ties that allow growing space. The haulm (stalk) of the broad bean plant is very brittle and easily broken, so the best way to support the plant is to construct a narrow box of stakes pegged in at 120cm intervals. Twist lengths of string from stake to stake to create a supporting frame that the bean plants can lean against when being blown around by the winter winds. Further levels of string can be added as the beans grow taller.
Once the pods start to form, ensure the beans are well watered around the base of the plant during dry periods. If the plants send out side shoots from the base, these should be cut off. At the end of cropping the plants should be removed from the soil. If the plants are left in the ground after their work is done, young sucker shoots can emerge which will exhaust the soil for follow-on crops.
One of the gardening formalities with broad beans - undertaken when the flowers have just wilted to black, sooty curls and the first tiny pods are about to appear in their place - is to pinch out the little cluster of leaves at the top of the plant. This arrests further growth, directing the energy of the plant into the developing pods. Don't discard these leafy bean tops - stir-fried in butter until lightly wilted, they are a delicious vegetable side dish in their own right - think of them as beany greens. They are also a fine filling for a tart or omelette.
Harvest 8 to 10 weeks from spring sowing. Regular picking (ideally 2 or 3 times a week) will keep production going for about 4 to 6 weeks For the best flavour, pick the beans when they are starting to show through the pod while the scar on the end of the beans is still white or green (although they can still be enjoyed after the scar has turned black).
To remove the pods from the plant, give them a sharp twist in a downward direction. With the last pick of the summer, the fat, bulging pods need a good 10 minutes boiling, after which the tender green kernels can be slipped out of their pale, leathery skins.
This well known family firm has been supplying seeds for more than 200 years. The company was founded as an agricultural seed supplier in 1806 in Reading by John Sutton (1777-1863). His son Martin Hope Sutton (1815-1901), put the company on the horticultural map with the introduction of flower and vegetable seeds aimed at the increasing number of small garden owners in Victorian England. Another successful innovation was the introduction of a mail-order service.
In 1876 Arthur Sutton (1854-1925) joined the firm. He became a prolific hybridiser, producing improved varieties of vegetables by introducing species from the Near East, and swelling the Suttons Catalogue considerably. He was awarded the RHS Victoria of Honour in 1897, and continued to supply seed during the difficult years of World War I.
Suttons moved their operation from Reading to Devon in 1976. The company now belongs to the French-owned international conglomerate Vilmorin.
Over the years many seed strains have incorporated the Sutton name: perhaps the most familiar today are varieties such as the foxglove Digitalis purpurea 'Suttons Apricot' and the dwarf Broad Bean 'The Sutton'.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 50 grams Average Seed Count 35 Seeds Common Name Dwarf variety. Broad Beans, Fava beans.
Family Leguminosae Genus Vicia Species faba Synonym The Sutton Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers White wing petals with a black spot Height 35 to 45cm (15 to 18in Spacing Space 23cm (9in.) apart Position If sowing in the autumn, choose a sheltered position. Soil The ideal soil is one which has been manured for a previous crop. Time to Sow Sow from early autumn to late winter or sow in spring Time to Harvest Harvest 8 to 10 weeks from spring sowing.