The purpose of this post is just to compare the effects of mulching some broad beans versus not mulching them.
I planted the broad beans in the field in January. I rotovated the field beforehand to get rid of the surface weeds. I made holes with a broomstick about 10cm deep and threw the broad bean seeds into the holes before raking over to fill up the holes. I used dried broad beans for eating from the supermarket.
On half of them I put a covering of about 3cm of chipped olive branches from my wood chipper. You can see the results in the photos below.
The mulch does a very good job of suppressing the weeds. I am influenced by the idea of no dig gardening. In strict no dig gardening there would be no use of a rotovator and the mulch would be well rotted compost rather than freshly chipped vegetable matter but for me this method works well. The use of a rotovator is abhorrent to some purists but many people don’t realize that they only just scratch over the surface.
The wood chipper
I used to burn all the prunings from the olive trees. They burn very well because the leaves contain oil however it seemed a waste of a useful resource and the carbon dioxide was released into the air. With the wood chipper I use all the shredded vegetable matter as mulch. This reduces the amount of time weeding and the vegetable matter improves the soil quality and increases the worm population. I imagine that is locks up the carbon the the soil for a while which is probably a good thing. There is more info and a video of the shredder here