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Delicious when harvested young and tender, hardy broad beans have a lot to offer – as veg growing expert Rob Smith explains
The elusive heritage variety ‘Atawallpa’s Fingerprint’ has distinctive markings on its seeds

When chatting to people on my allotment site, or gardeners in general, it seems that broad beans are a Marmite vegetable – you either love them or you hate them! I’ve never known why, as I really like them, especially when combined with other legumes such as peas and beans and dressed with sweet chilli, to make a summer salad.They are delicious.

I suppose we all have memories of little, grey, overcooked broad beans from school dinners. That memory doesn’t always inspire you to grow or cook with broad beans and I guess dinner ladies up and down the country have a lot to answer for!

If, like me, you are a broad bean fan, you’ll probably already have sown a few rows in the autumn, resulting in stocky little plants that have withstood the winter with ease, especially if you planted the winter hardy ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ variety.This long-podded variety is probably the best known for sowing in the autumn and winter. If you want to go for something different, there is always ‘Atawallpa’s Fingerprint’.This is an American variety which is very hard to get hold of nowadays, yet it has stunning beans which look like they are made of marble or have a fingerprint branded into them (they are occasionally available online) and a real heritage find if you can buy them.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden ... - Grow succulent strawberries - Save ££s on plants with our great offers - £2338 worth of garden goodies to be won! - Spring into action - 4 page sowing guide - Salads all year round - Try crunchy kohl rabi - How do you like it? Is your plot pristie or patchy? - Broad beans for beginners - 7 pages of delicious recipes - Bye bye to blight - Gloves tested - Boost your mood with gardeing