Fava Beans - Lots of Flowers, No Beans

Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)April 20, 2009

Last fall I decided to try growing Fava Beans. In October I planted an 8 foot row of these beans and they grew into nice plants before really cold weather. I kept them covered with shade cloth all winter, adding an extra layer of plastic over the shade cloth when it was going to get really cold. The plants started blooming in late February and I began to leave the shade cover off except when there was frost expected. The plants continue to be covered by flowers, but so far only one bean has formed. We do not have any honeybees so far this spring, but there are plenty of bumble bees and other pollinators. Has anyone else grown these plants and/or can someone suggest why they are not producing beans?

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trianglejohn

Ralph its been years since I've grown Fava's so if you can trust my memory, here's my story: I planted them more as a winter cover crop for my small garden. They thrived all winter with only a bit of damage when temps got really cold (like 12 degrees). I thought they would be bushy bean type plants but they came up tall and skinny and pretty much stayed that way. In hindsight I should have planted them closer together. They didn't bloom until spring and didn't set pods until late spring/early summer. I didn't get enough beans off of them to make it worth the winter long care - so I never grew them again. I thought that their small size was due to my less then sunny yard (but it is pretty sunny during the winter). I also thought I would harvest beans in late winter and then yank them out and plant someone else. Their late bloom/fruiting schedule kinda threw me off - since space is limited.

My garden has a lot of bees with the most common being some sort of native bumblebee that is half the size of a normal one - I call them blueberry bees because I see them when the blueberries start blooming (some types bloom way early in my garden).

Fava's aren't related to regular beans and some people of Mediterranean decent are deathly allergic to them.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 9:19AM
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