Has anyone ever grown fava/broad beans successfully in Minnesota? I'm in southern Minnesota, more Little House on the Prairie than Paul Bunyan Big Woods.
I have grown them in Massachusetts. You just have to put them out early. Plant the same time as peas. Hope you do not get a really hot spell in late June since fava beans really do not like hot weather.
The way people grow fava beans in 'fava countries' is they plant them in the fall; they come up, grow a few inches, and hold over the winter. They begin growing early in their spring and are harvested before the weather gets hot. However, they will not survive weather below 15F which leaves that technique out for you.
FYI, if you are growing fava beans, they can get a bit tall and sometimes blow over. I used to grow them in a double row and put a stake every ten feet or so along the rows. Ran a basket weave twine between the plants, fastening it to the stakes. Went ;up and down the row once. Did a fair job of keeping them upright.
You might also try pinching the tops on some of them. If the weather is right, you will get new shoots coming up and get a larger harvest.
The picture is not very useful, but it is the only one I have of fava beans. Sorry.
Pick them small. They are really tasty.
I'm in South Central MN, zone 4 ( I suspect 3b!) and I grew favas for the first time this year, with some success. The seed was imported from Italy, planted mid-May, and started picking mid-August. The plans are very healthy, growing with support about 2 1/2 ft tall. Some picked pods hold 1 bean, some hold 2-3 beautifully large beans. However many pods have no bean in them at all, just spongy material the entire length of the pods, with a germ of a bean visible. I still have more beans on the vine and will keep them on more days past the average 100 days. I will cook my few favas tonight or tomorrow and see how they taste. All in all, I'm glad I tried growing these, and will try again next year.
Feedback from members appreciated!
"Some picked pods hold 1 bean, some hold 2-3 beautifully large beans. However many pods have no bean in them at all, just spongy material the entire length of the pods, with a germ of a bean visible."
It sounds as if there was a pollination problem. You'd normally expect 5 - 8 beans in a pod. Maybe an Italian variety isn't the best choice for your region since the conditions would be very different.
I am living in Florida now and favas grow very well in the winter. You get huge crops.
Anyway, that is not what you wanted to hear. First, I am surprised that they only get 2 1/2 feet tall; Most fava I have grown get at least three feet tall, sometimes higher. What variety were they.
Also, you should get 2-3 beans per pod at least, often four of five. Of course, variety is a factor.
Where did you get your seed?
Your summer temps must be pretty low; by August, most fava beans are long gone as heat does them in and seems to bring out even more aphids which just love them. If you can grow them over a long season, try cutting the tops of some of them; usually that encourages a vigorous growth of side shoots.
I have some Fava beans that I plan to plant here when it cools down. I never ate one. I heard they are really good for you. I will just trellis them on some chicken wire. Not sure when to plant them. We get our first frost in early November.
zackey - favas don't require trellis as they don't climb. But they can grow 3 - 4 feet (the old fashioned varieties - we have many cultivars which are much shorter). All you need to do to support them is put two strong sticks or stakes at the end of the row and run a couple of strings up one side and down the other.