My Favas are blooming, too early?

wertach zone 7-B SCFebruary 25, 2013

It's my first try at overwintering Favas. I tried spring planting before I found out, on this site, that they needed to be fall planted.

The plants aren't very big, about 1' tall and have some black leaves from a few nights in the low 20's. And I'm sure we will have a lot more cold nights. We still have a lot of winter left here in SC.

Is this normal? Should I cover them?

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cindy_ga

I planted mine in October, they started blooming at the end of December and I noticed tiny beans on a few of them this past weekend (thank you for the reminder!) I cover them when temps drop to 28 - but now they are more than 3 feet tall, so hard to really cover well. They're forecasting pretty cold temps at night this weekend - I might have to pull the plastic up and over them again to keep a little heat in.

Last year I forgot to cover during one cold snap, got some black leaves and a few branches died back - they looked sad, but came back when the temps came up again and we were very tired of favas by the time I pulled them out. Good luck with them - I'm dreaming on eating them right now. :)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 7:36AM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

I started some in small pots inside a few weeks ago. They quickly bumped into the lights, and I started trying to harden them off. I looked at the forecast on Monday: no freezing temps for 4 days, so I stuck them in the ground with milk jug cloches, figuring they would finish hardening off through the week. My heart sank when I saw the hard frost Tuesday morning! The plants looked very droopy, but by afternoon they had perked back up, with only a few black edges on some of the leaves. I think they're gonna make it!

Point being they seem like tough suckers. If my tender seedlings can survive a hard freeze, your winter-grown plants should be fine. Those flowers might not set fruit (or maybe they will), but there will be more in any case. It sounds like you've got a great leg up on the ideal fava season!

I'm definitely going to fall plant favas from now on.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:34AM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

wertach, what's the latest news on your favas? My seedlings have survived a few more light frosts and seem to be doing just fine.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 12:01PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

They aren't looking too good. We have had some nights in the 20's the last two weeks. I have been sick so I couldn't cover them.

They have a lot of black leaves and the blooms are gone. Some even look dead.

I hope I at least get enough for one meal!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 12:20PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Sorry to hear that. I hope they pull through and grow like gangbusters once the weather warms a little.

I plan to fall-plant some this year. Looking at Sweet Lorane, a small-seeded variety that is supposed to be very cold-tolerant (10 deg F). I wonder if covering them during the cold weather coddles them too much and lets them grow too fast? I plan to let them fend for themselves.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:59PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

"I plan to let them fend for themselves."

Mine have fended for themselves. I was planning to cover, but sick over powers the garden stuff sometimes.

I'll post back later and let you know of any changes.

Right now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed!

"I wonder if covering them during the cold weather coddles them too much and lets them grow too fast?"

I wish I could answer that question.
But, It's my first try at overwintering Favas.

I'll be able to tell you more as they die or progress.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 3:57PM
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cindy_ga

My favas are just about ready to harvest - I expect we'll be eating by mid-next week if we don't get too much cold in the next day or two. (Forecast 30 degrees for 3/20...) This year I covered them with a sheet of plastic over PVC hoops when temps were to drop below 30. Since some of the plants were taller than the hoops already, this meant sort of stuffing them under the plastic. The ends of the tunnels weren't fastened really tight - my goal was to keep the plants from freezing too much. It seems to have worked fine - a few stems bent, but the plants continue to thrive. They smell awesome!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 4:55AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I'm jealous Cindy!

The last spurt of cold did a lot of damage. I don't think that many will recover.

Some of mine are starting to bloom again but they are predicting 20's here again tonight, bummer.

I think I could get a good crop if we didn't have the crazy weather that we have been having. It was 80 degrees last weekend and we have had lows in the 50's at night recently.

The beans are confused!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 2:05PM
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cindy_ga

Same chaos with weather here, tho we haven't had the lows you've had. The favas seem to do ok until it's about 28, that's when I see blackened stems. I have beans that are coming along nicely, tho not as fast as I'd expected because it was cold all week! Rain and cold this weekend and that "27" is being tossed around for Monday and Tuesday night... I want to complain to management about the weather...

Let's hope we see some warm coming soon!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 9:34AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Good news Cindy, I think? LOL

The ones that turned black and appeared dead have sprouted new stems and leaves from the roots!

The survivors are blooming again. My fruit trees are in full bloom too.

But they are predicting high 20's at night and 40 to 50 daytime temps for the rest of this week. And lots of wind!

Even though it is 50 now it feels like 20! But if I remember correctly a wind will keep a hard frost at bay, plant wise.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 6:10PM
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cindy_ga

Hi Ted!

26 this morning. Really. Who thought this was a good idea?? But the favas are hanging in there - There are still small beans, I picked one pod the other day to test them - was hoping to make favas for Easter dinner. No.... The beans were very small, not ready at all and a bit bitter tasting. But I continue to have hope. The plastic over the hoops pulled up to cover the favas (which I stuff, stuff back under the plastic) is working to protect them even with these cold temps. I expect that once the temps stay in the 50s/60s during the day, I will be overrun with favas.

In the meantime, my garden buddy hangs out in the favas when he's not in my shed. We have a deal that he eats bugs that I manage to attract in the garden and in exchange he poses for photos...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 3:34PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

"In the meantime, my garden buddy hangs out in the favas when he's not in my shed."

I'm guessing the garden buddy is a cat? If not, what is your garden buddy?

I have a garden buddy too, a cat, he keeps the rodents out.

But if he doesn't smell anything he gets in the way! LOL

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 4:08PM
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nanelle_gw(9/Sunset 14)

The buddy is in the picture. Looks like a lizard? Very nice! I have a few lizard buddies as well, but various shades of brown, and I see them in the compost pile and never in the veggies.

This post was edited by nanelle on Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 16:36

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 4:33PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I would love a garden buddy like that! My autumn sown favas are languishing out there in the chilliest March for 50 years. No flowers at all yet. And I haven't had a chance to plant out the ones I'm growing in the greenhouse either.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 7:17PM
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cindy_ga

Oops - sorry - yes, the garden buddy is the Anole in the photo. He loves to eat bugs and the favas always have a certain load of aphids and ants. One of the joys of the favas is that they attract lady beetles early in the season due to aphids and by the time we have aphids actually in numbers to threaten new seedlings, the lady beetle (red lady bugs) are already available in army proportions in the fava beans. :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:23PM
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cindy_ga

We ate our first favas of the season last night - they were yummy. My favorite recipe is to steam the entire pod lightly - until the large pod is starting to "unzip". Then put in ice water. The outer pod and the skin will come off the beans easily and I shell into a bowl. I use equal amounts of olive oil and fresh lemon juice seasoned lightly with fresh pepper and sea salt. Dress the beans lightly - add a bit of chopped parsley and some (optional) dry shaved cheese (the recipe calls for Manchego - parmesan or gruyere works nicely too). This bean salad keeps nicely in the fridge if there are any leftovers... I usually make a larger than one use batch of dressing and toss fresh beans with it for a week.

How else does everyone serve favas?

Cindy

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:56AM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Cindy, I'm so envious! With the chilly spring weather, my little favas I started in February are not yet flowering, and it's almost time to turn them under to make way for eggplant. Oh well, they'll contribute more fertility this way. I might leave a couple around the edges, and I'll definitely fall-plant next time!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:32AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Mine are still blooming but I haven't found a single pod yet.

It's been warm for 2 weeks, 70's during the day and the lows 40 and above.

I have lost so many due to crows and late hard frosts that they may not be getting pollinated. They are few and far between.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 11:13AM
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cindy_ga

Jim and Ted - so sorry to hear of your fava woes. It has been a very weird winter and spring. I think I turned my favas in mid-May last year and they were pretty much spent on making pods. At the rate they are producing this year, it will be a battle with heat I'm sure. They're much slower than last.

I sure hope that you both see some production soon! They're predicting low 40s this weekend again - I have to cover the peppers, eggplant and perhaps tomatoes... weird weather.

Ted - I used to make chicken wire cages to put over corn when I lived up north. I used tomato stakes and stapled the wire on a 3 foot square cube and dropped it over my plants. That did wonders to keep out the jays.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 1:12PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

The crows got in mine when I planted them last fall. They dug them up and had a feast!

They never bothered them after they sprouted.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:57PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I finally have some bean pods! I counted about 20 yesterday.

Some plants have 2 or 3 and some plants still just have blooms.

My crimson clover cover crop is starting to bloom, so the pollinators are trickling in and will be coming by the thousands in a few days.

I think pollination was the problem.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:51AM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

With the cool weather we've been having, I will get some flowers, and might get some beans too! I planted eggplants in the bed, but they are hardly growing, so I'll leave the favas for now. Hard to say when it will start heating up around here...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:24AM
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cindy_ga

Hey Ted,

How are your favas doing? I have had an amazing harvest this year - with the cold and wet weather, it's been great for peas, favas, broccoli, and salad.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:57AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Your pic makes my mouth water!

I picked a double handful a few minutes ago. Enough for one person, maybe. I'm going to shell and cook them in a little while.

They have stopped blooming and the weeds are a mess. The daytime temps have been in the 80's the last few days.

I'm going out in a few minutes to plow them under, if the rain holds off long enough.

Its getting cloudy and it feels like rain is coming but the radar doesn't show any cells. But where I live, you can't trust radar. Too close the the mountains.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:09PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Mine have been blooming like mad, first blooms are starting to set pods, but the plants are only ~18" tall. I doubt I'll get many beans before the heat sets in, but it's been an interesting experiment.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:20AM
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cindy_ga

So sorry yours aren't producing Ted. Mine are on their way out - but are huge - about 5 feet tall. When you plow them under, how chopped up are they?

I am trying an experiment with the cooked pods, rather than throw them directly into the compost, I am trying to compost them directly between two rows of tomato plants. I thought I'd see if they would be a nitro boost later in the season as they break down. I dug a trench, put the pods (they've been steamed in the kitchen) into the trench, tossed in some straw, covered with soil and mulched. I only did half the tomato bed. I'm looking forward to seeing if I get a benefit or fire ants...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 8:18AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Cindy, they aren't chopped very much, I turned them under with the plow on my tractor.

I cooked them and they were delicious! It is probably a good thing that I didn't have more. I would have ate more and they were very upsetting to the digestive system if you know what I mean! ;)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 4:52PM
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cindy_ga

Hi Luther,

Hmmm... favas don't seem to cause me grief. Kidney beans do tho. Someone once said to take some Epazote along with beans. It's an herb that comes in capsule form at health food stores. I don't know if it works, but lots of folks swear by it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 3:47PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

You can grow epazote. Seeds are available. I believe it either self sows or is perennial.

Fresh epazote leaves are often cooked with beans in Mexico.

Maybe George can add to this. He lived in Mexico.

Jim

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 7:09PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Yes, epazote is easy to grow. It appeared in my garden a few years back when I was using horse manure (Coincidence? Maybe...), and it has become well established to the point where I need to weed it in many places. It is a perennial, but in my garden mostly grows from seeds.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:44AM
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cindy_ga

Something to share on favas... we accidentally found the best recipe that is also easy to make - and oh wow they are good!

Wash young fava pods (mine ranged from pea sized beans inside to thumb tip sized beans) and pat dry. Toss pods with Olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and some minced garlic. Cook on the grill until blistered turning as necessary - about 6-10 minutes. Take pods and put in a platter with raised sides - sprinkle with more salt, pepper, garlic and squeeze on some fresh lemon juice. Eat them pods and all. You will want to string the larger ones, but oh these are so incredibly good this way, no peeling necessary. It's very messy - plan on lots of napkins and a good crisp beer, white wine or other beverage to go with the yumminess. This could almost be a meal of its own - consider serving with fresh bread. :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 4:23PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Update: this weekend I pulled up the dozen or so fava plants, and got a few fists full of pods. I shelled, blanched, and peeled them for a yield of a little less than a cup. A lot of work, but they are worth it! They are delish! Most will go into my wife's hummus: mostly chickpeas, but the favas should give it a nice green tinge and good flavor. Looking forward to planting a big bed this fall!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:46AM
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