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lakelady October 26, 2011 06:14 PM

Anyone grow Fava Beans?
I just got an order from Seeds from Italy (in two days no less!). One of the things I'd ordered were Fava Beans and not really knowing much about them, except they are my mom's favorite, and we always ate them growing up, I'm reading. One thing I found interesting is that they are a very good cover crop to grow aside from all of the health benefits.

Anyone ever grow these? Supposedly you can winter them over too in warmer climates as they do like cold.

RayR October 26, 2011 08:31 PM

I grow a small patch of Windsor Fava every year. I wish I had more space. I grew up with them as my Italian grandparents grew a lot of them. I've always loved the taste of Fava Beans, cooked or raw.
They won't winter over up here, but they do need a cold start in the spring. Pretty much like growing peas, it one of the first seeds you plant in early spring.
Since they are legume, they make a good edible cover crop.

lakelady October 26, 2011 08:41 PM

Ray, I've heard of people growing tomatoes through vetch, I was wondering if you could do the same with the favas...plant early, and then just put some tomato plants in between. Supposedly it would increase yields. I have no idea much about these beans though, don't know how tall they get as that information wasn't available. I got Super Aquadulce beans.

RayR October 26, 2011 09:35 PM

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Probably not a good idea, Fava isn't a low growing vetch, they get anywhere from 2.5Ft to over 3Ft. tall with broad leaves and side branches coming from the soil line. By the time you planted your tomatoes, the Fava would have already reached a appreciable size and would shade out the young Tomato plants. I plant Fava in very early April, so by the time late May rolls around to plant the tomato seedlings, the Fava is already quite tall and still growing.
I usually grow radishes as a companion crop in between the rows of Fava plants since Radish grows faster and is harvested before the Fava is tall enough to shade out the Radishes. At least that's the plan, it doesn't always work out that way. If you get a mild spring, not too cold and not too wet, those Fava plants can grow quite fast and tall. In 2010, which had a spring like that, I had Fava plants so tall I had to stake them to keep them from falling over from the wind and the weight of the pods.

I added a picture from June 17, 2010 so you can see what I mean

lakelady October 27, 2011 08:49 AM

oh wow those do get kinda tall, i see what you're saying. No trellising normally? I wondered about that too. Good to know it makes a great green manure though, and would be great for the compost heap.

RayR October 27, 2011 11:50 AM

No trellising, they're not a climbing vine. Straight up thick stalks. I staked some of them just to keep them from leaning over into the lanes between the beds. Planted on a large scale, that would be impractical. There are only about 50 plants in that bed and for the most part they usually hold each other up.
As a green manure, they create a lot of biomass that breaks down very quickly in a compost heap or tilled back into the soil.

loeb February 11, 2012 04:44 AM

Important thing is that favas don't like dry soil. You can start them from direct sow into the soil, or indoors - but then you have to be very carefull to do not disturb the roots while transplanting.

RayR February 11, 2012 08:23 AM

Good point, they do best in evenly moist soil. I've never grown them as transplants but I have been pre-sprouting the seeds indoors to get them past the germination stage, they sprout much faster at room temperature than they do in cool soil. I soak the seeds in water overnight and then place them in a container on moist coffee filters until they sprout which only takes about 3-5 days.

rockhound February 11, 2012 09:04 AM

Favas are THE very best trap crop for aphids in zone 7. They are fine one day and the next (it seems) they are covered. I pinch the infested top out and spray the stalks with soap solution.

RayR February 11, 2012 09:23 AM

Fava is the best trap crop for Black Aphids anywhere. I have noticed that the Aphids are more prevalent in years when the plants are under stress. In 2010 when the growing conditions were perfect, I had virtually no aphids. Last year after there was excessive rainfall and a very cold spring, my Fava had lots of Aphids.

jennifer28 February 11, 2012 09:42 AM

Lakelady, what supplier do you order from in Italy? Just wondering because I have such a preference for Italian veggies (I'm half Italian) and I would be really interested in ordering directly from there for some of the Italian bean varieties.

Jeannine Anne February 11, 2012 01:42 PM

I grow these very year, several varieties.We called them broad beans in the UK so if looking for varieties look under this name too.

Some are sown in the fall ,Aquadulce is perhaps the best one for that, but many are better sown in the start of the year..right now is the best time for my area. You can direct sow but I prefer to start them in small pots and put them out as plants.They are very hardy and can take a frost.

They come dwarf and taller growing ones but none are as tallas pole beans.

Longpods types uaually have 8 seeds, Windsor types have only 4 and are shorter.

They don't climb but can get to 4 feet and need support as they can fall over.

They are not fussy about soil except they don't like it waterlogged or very acid.

I plant mine in double rows 9 inches apart 2 inches deep, seeds 6 inches apart and 30 iches between the double rows. Each double row then get a pole at each corner with string wrapped all the way at two or three heights round rather like a narrow boxing ring, this prevents them falling over, which they will do if not supported.

They can be eaten whole in the pods when very young or shelled when large enough, don't leave them to grow huge as they tend to get tough.

This year I am growing the following
Grano Violetto a lovely heritage variety
Aquadulce my old friend..
Crimson Flowered, (most have white flowers0

I have just a few seeds of a couple of heirlooms which I may isolate and keep for the seeds this year too.

They do attract black aphids so pinch out the growing tops when this starts, and by the way you can eat the well washed tips so don't waste them.

Very popular in the UK, broadies are one of the first veggies to stsart so makes me feel the year has begun.

Good Luck

XX Jeannine

loeb March 8, 2012 05:40 AM

My little favas are sprouting.. this year I'm not going to eat them, just to do some selection.. One of the sprouts is pink:D

z_willus_d March 8, 2012 12:12 PM

Hi, I love Fava beans. I have three InnTainers (SWCs) that are made from 18-gallon SWCs per Ray N.'s instructions. They house 2 Dwarf plants each through the winter, but a series of disasters struck those plants and they all ended up outdoors in their rack on wheels where a recent rain/wind storm did them in good. This weekend, I'd like to pull out the diseased, rotting tomato remnants and plant Favas in the InnTainers. I believe beans are unaffected by the various nematodes, diseases, fungi, etc. that attack tomato plants.

I'm thinking of planting a double row down the length of each InnTainer, maybe get four seeds per row and two rows per tainer, so 8 total. I have the tainers setting in racks, so I could run trellis netting across the length of the rack to provide some support, maybe in addition to small bamboo stakes.

The soil is a bit acidic in the 5.8 to 6.5 range. What pH should I target? I'll have to add lime it seems. How do you feed Favas? Regularly through the season, or slow release ferts at planting? Any soil amendments recommended? Full sun? Finally, where is the best place to procure seeds? I think I'd like a tall variety that will fill up the volume of my 6+' rack.

I have no experience growing Favas, just making succotash with them, which I love. I appreciate the advice.

Thanks, Naysen

Jeannine Anne March 8, 2012 01:57 PM

You don`t need the netting. Just have a stake at each corner and rune strings round the stakes at two heights to stopm them toppling over. most grow to about 3 feet.

For containers and spring sowing may I suggest the variety The Sutton, it is a great bean but the height is short so will suit your containers better.

Also get them in if you can.. they don`t need warm weather. My spring ones were planted out three days ago.

XX Jeannine

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