cover image for article about sowing broad beans
One of the first seeds you can grow in the year is broad beans. Sowing broad beans with kids is and ideal project especially for new gardeners, because the seeds are large and easy to handle, and are pretty reliable at germinating.

Get children to prepare the growing equipment

Early broad beans need to be started indoors. You can start them off in a lot of different containers. You can use small pots, a module tray, plastic pint glasses, or old loo rolls middles.

grid of five images of things to plant seeds in

Decide whether to provide gloves for children to handle the compost. It will depend on whether it is shop compost or using home rotted materials. If you are working with children in an education setting, check your risk assessment for rules in your setting. You should be using a light seed compost for this.

Children can count out enough pots for the number of plants you want (plus a few extras in case some plants fail). They can get some compost ready and fill whatever pots you are using with compost. An adult might need to move heavy compost bags or pour some into a bucket to make it easier.

aerial shot of children filling pots with compost

Planting the seeds

Children can poke a hole into the compost for the seed to go in.

Then they can place one seed, on its side, into each hole.

When all the pots are filled, cover them over gently with soil.

They can then water the pots.

They can use any writing skills to make labels for the pots.

an image of a hand with broad bean seeds and one of a seed being pushed into a module tray of soil

Caring for the plants

The pots should be kept somewhere light and protected from the coldest weather, a window ledge or cold greenhouse is fine.

Children can notice when they start to sprout. They can see which ones grow fastest. They can see whether they bend towards a  light source and move the pots around to make them grow evenly. 

They can check for dryness and water them (see our article on learning through watering plants with a handy watering chart).

When the plants are big enough (usually late March to early April) you can help them to plant the beans outside.

Here is a concise video by Sean's Allotment Garden which will show children the basics of growing these easy seeds.