Fava beans for soil enrichment

revajaneOctober 9, 2009

I've been told that planting Fava beans before planting a first time vegetable garden may NOT be a good idea as they produce a lot of seed and impact the garden. Thoughts?

(I am a new user to this site and have tried to post this message three times. I hope this doesn't appear as a duplication.)

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I haven't done this myself but a neighbor down the road plants fava beans as a cover crop in her raised garden beds. She turns them under when they start to flower but before they make beans and then go to seed.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 10:01PM
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I planted about 30x30 area with fava & clover cover & some beans seed & going to till rows to plant my early tomato & veg. next spring. I think it a good idea. The farmers here often plant them between their vines & tree fruit crops as a green manure. Good luck

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 12:25PM
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There are many weeks between bloom and mature seeds, months in fact. I can't recall a single one reseeding itself, and you will not find a better green manure. Buy a scythe. You can also eat the greens.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 11:36PM
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Fava beans have a very vigorous root system, which makes them one of the BEST crops for a new garden because the roots will penetrate and break up the soil. They're a legume so their nitrogen fixing capability will leave the soil better of than when they were put in as far as nutrients too.

Last year, just for grins, I used a hoe to move aside the mulch on soil that had never been tilled and laid a row of beans on the top of the soil, then covered with the mulch. It grew full sized fava plants with no fertilizer or extra water.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 3:34PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Why not just grow the favas as a regular vegetable? Eat the beans and then dig in or compost the plants. It seems a terrible waste to me to turn them in before you get the crop.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 5:27PM
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I do grow them as a regular vegetable, but last year I planted about 1000 of them. Far more than I could do anything with (did give a bunch away). This year bean weevils struck, so I don't think I have as much viable seed as last year.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 3:46PM
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I planted some favas in my raised beds almost two weeks ago. I soaked some dried beans and planted them about 2+1/2" or 3" deep, but so far, no sprouts.
We've had quite a bit of rain since then. Do they take a long time to sprout?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:58PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

At least 2 weeks in my climate in Autumn. 3 inches is a bit deep. 1.5 would be fine. Also if pre soaked there is a risk of rotting in cold soil. I'd just wait a bit longer if I were you. You could have a little dig and find one to check what it's doing.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 1:20PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

flora_uk, there are a few reasons to till legumes in before they go to seed when using them as a green manure. This is before they start sending a lot of nitrogen into the fruit, so N in the whole plant is highest. If you harvest the seed you are taking some of the N out of the soil. Another reason is just a matter of timing. In areas like the northeast and midwest of the US, temperature swings rapidly from winter to summer extremes. Unless things are carefully timed, it can be hard to grow favas or peas to maturity, then follow them with something like tomatoes or eggplant. I'm going to try just such a feat myself, but I will be planting my favas this weekend, as long as the weather cooperates and the soil isn't too soggy.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:46AM
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