The first step is to get your beans and peas to germinate. I find that soaking them first really helps – especially for peas which I find can rot if you put them dry into soil and then over water them because you’re desperate to get them starting. If you start them in a bowl you can keep them just damp enough.
The peas on the right in this picture have soaked for several days. You need to keep them fairly warm for them to develop quickly.
Once the shoots are well developed you need to plant out into pots, about 1 cm soil on top. I pot them out separately if possible so that the plants can be planted out without having to separate out the roots.
I like the plants to grow as big as possible before I transplant them into the raised beds in our garden where they will be exposed to slugs and chickens…
The Loo Roll Technique
A good way to germinate runner and broad beans which put down long tap roots is in loo rolls. If you keep the loo rolls moist then the bean roots and shoots grow through them. You can plant the whole thing in the garden as the loo roll will decompose in the soil. This is also a good way to start root vegetables like parsnips early indoors.