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Why not try favas?

Posted by flora_uk SW UK 8/9 (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 30, 08 at 16:11

I've just been down to my allotment and the late October sown favas (broad beans) are just peeping through. It is still touch and go because mice love the beans just after they germinate. I wondered whether any of you who garden in milder climates have thought of putting in a row of favas. I'm sure that in Southern States there is time to pop in a few to overwinter. I'll be putting more in come February. I have also covered my runner bean roots with leaves because this year I am experimenting with trying them as deliberate perennials. (As opposed to accidental which sometimes happens when I leave them in the ground by mistake.) Good gardening, Flora.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why not try favas?

I did grow favas a few years ago. Not just a row, but my entire garden. I grew them as a cover crop one year when I was not able to garden. They were a small seeded type I bought for the purpose and I planted them in the spring.

In the U.S. we don't have a tradition of growing and eating favas, so we don't understand the overwinter process and don't know anything about their culinary value. They are available though and could be grown in most places I guess. Maybe a little encouragement from you will change this situation, at least for members of this forum. Give us your pitch as to why we should grow favas.

Jim


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RE: Why not try favas?

I grew purple favas (Seeds of Change) a few years ago - there was a population of rodents that helped themselves so I didn't get much of a harvest. The plants and blossoms were really pretty.

This year I'm planting Windsor. I'm going to try growing it next to a row of dwarf fruit trees, see how that works. Hopefully they will grow well as the trees are dormant and no foliage to block the sunshine and the trees will benefit from the nitrogen.

I also planted runner beans (Painted Lady and Scarlet Emperor on a wide iron arch). Americans don't generally know runner beans as an edible either, only ornamental.


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 1, 08 at 15:34

I just ordered some pole favas from Victory seeds. I might sow them as soon as they arrive (next week some time?). I already have the red scarlet runners on a trellis between the myers lemon and the nectarine (doing well and climbing but have not flowered yet). Now I want to make another trellis between the nectarine and the fig. There is something that has been eating either the bean on the ground, or the tender sprouts. Many survived, I just wonder how to protect future seedlings from harm. Flora, thanks for the reminder on the favas! I got the idea form my dad. He gardens in Spain a little and asked me, why don't you plant favas? they are a cool weather bean and they are delicious! I was excited when I found a pole variety. I am also excited they are a species on their own and not likely to cross with my other pole beans.


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RE: Why not try favas?

cabrita - I've never heard of pole favas. Are you sure that is what you have ordered? I couldn't see reference to them on Victory's site. The ones we grow are between 1 and four feet tall. They are Vicia faba ie a vetch not a Phaseolus ie a bean. As to selling them to you - I just grow them because I love them and they are something you can have early in the season. Also it's nice to be sowing in October/November when most things are ending. In the UK they are almost soley eaten as a green bean and are best when young. They make a good warm salad and have an affinity with bacon.

In my garden runner beans thrive but although I try green beans every year, both bush and pole, they are always rubbish. The ground is too heavy and the weather is too wet and cool. Bush types always get eaten by slugs and snails and the pole types do not yield anything like the quantity that runners do nor over such a long period. I grow Painted Lady and the odd unnamed red runner which seems to creep in with home saved seed. Very pretty and very tasty.
I am adding a link to the company I get my vegetable seeds from to illustrate the different emphasis between the various types of bean in the UK and the US. My allotment association gets a discount which is very nice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beans


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 2, 08 at 0:44

Flora I was confused. I did order pole limas as well and thought for some reason the favas were poles too since they say 3 or 4 feet? and they need support? I don't know, first time for me. Do you think they will do better trellised? staked?

I never tried the fava pods. The beans are yummy.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Cabrita - favas do not vine so they don't need trellising. However, they can get floppy especially if you have a lot of wind and or rain in your climate. To support them you can hammer in 2 stakes at each end of the row and just run a string up one side and down the other. As the plants grow you can add other strings higher up. Stakes along the row are handy if it is a long one.

You can eat the whole pods when they are very young but generally we eat the shelled beans young and green.

The picture shows how you can support them (This is not my allotment)

Here is a link that might be useful: broad beans


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RE: Why not try favas?

Favas grow well in the cool Midwest spring and fall. They will stop setting flowers and pods in the summer heat, but if they survive they will put on a second flush of beans after the summer cools off. Cabrita if I were in your area I would do all I could to keep them cool. Maybe shade them with corn or something. Good luck!


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RE: Why not try favas?

Here in Southern CA, I grow favas as a fall/winter crop. They're pretty, good for the soil, have lovely (and lovely smelling) flowers, and they taste darned good. I always put them in in October and have a March crop of beans. However, this year, along with my regular Broad Windsor planting, I planted Crimson Flowered Fava at the same time. These guys are blooming and setting fruit already, although the plants are only about 8-10 inches tall!

I eat the beans many ways. One of my favorite ways is to throw the whole pots, smeared generously with oil and garlic, on the grill. Smokey beany goodness, I tell you!


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RE: Why not try favas?

t.s.

After grilling, I presume you shell the beans. Is that right?

Jim


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 3, 08 at 9:51

Flora thanks for the explanation and the picture! I can probably do something like that and use a less sunny spot, except my staking will not look as neat. It sounds like I can probably get away with planting this month, as soon as the seeds arrive. Last year I should have planted the peas earlier (I mean in the fall rather than the spring) the warm days came and burned the peas so i did not get as large a crop as i could have. I love this 4 season pea/bean rotation. Believe it or not I am still harvesting pole beans (P vulgaris) and still getting new flowers on them, wow.


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RE: Why not try favas?

I'm one of those rare people to whom favas taste bad. It is kind of like broccoli, to some people, it just tastes awful.

Fortunately, I live in a very hot humid climate so I can grow lots of pole and bush beans.

DarJones


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RE: Why not try favas?

Hi Jim,

Sometimes, if the pods are young enough, I eat the whole thing. Otherwise, I pop the seeds out and sprinkle with salt. I almost never peel the bean seeds--I just haven't had to.

What is your favorite way to prepare them?


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RE: Why not try favas?

Ha!!! I don't have a favorite way to prepare them. I have never prepared any! Your way sounds good.

I'll try to find some fresh favas at the grocery store to get some experience prior to growing them.

Flora, you can see why we will be needing your guidance on this topic.

Jim


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RE: Why not try favas?

I grew a few plants last winter, but just as they were starting to set some pods, I needed the space for something else. I loved growing them even just for their ornamental and olfactory value, though. The scent of the blossoms at sunset is heavenly.


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by ppod 6 SE NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 3, 08 at 21:49

In Italy, favas are eaten much like we eat edaname (except the favas are not boiled).

Favas are usually enjoyed with chunks of sharp Pecorino cheese and a glass of red wine. During springtime, many restaurants offer baskets of favas (in the pod) w/Pecorino. Diners shell the raw pods at the table and eat the seeds with the cheese and wine. The young (green) fava seeds need no peeling. It's a delicious (and healthy) "salad".

I wished I knew the variety of fava that's used this way. I remember them as being long-podded with space between the seeds, that is, seeds did not touch other seeds. Would like to grow some of this type....

Anyone from Rome who would happen to know which fava variety it could be?

Here is a link that might be useful: Pecorino


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 3, 08 at 23:55

I'm doing a mini-trial of Windsor fava beans for the first time this year. They were started in October and are about a foot high right now. At this stage they look like large leafed bush pea plants more than anything in the bean family. They are starting to lean a bit so I'm thinking of nipping the tops to force a bit more branching, and because I'd like to try the tender tips in a salad. Since it's a trial I will nip some and let some go. They are handsome little plants so far.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fava Beans and Other Cover Crops


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RE: Why not try favas?

Check out the listing of favas on growitalian

DarJones


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 7, 08 at 23:14

The tender tips worked well in a salad -- and tasted a bit like a mild mustard green such as mizuna. Interestingly enough, the plants growing in plain dirt are doing just as well or better than the ones planted in my raised beds. So far fava beans are about as easy as anything can possibly be -- easier than peas which need to be trellised from the start.

Knowing that the future holds attractive and fragrant flowers, as well as high-quality protein come spring, there just isn't any downside that I can see. If they can stay pest and disease free, there will always be a place for them in my garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bean Broad Fava Windsor Seed


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RE: Why not try favas?

This is not a forum that I usually go to, but I was looking up information on fava beans and I came to this thread. I just planted fava beans in the children's section of a demonstration garden as a winter crop mainly to help with the poor soil. I think I must have caused a panic because three people have told me how poisonous the beans are if eaten raw and can cause death so I guess I will be pulling up the plants when they emerge. Does anone here have any information about the toxicity of the beans? I certainly don't want to be regarded as irresponsible and endagering children!


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RE: Why not try favas?

Sounds like someone is thinking of the rare genetic condition called favism. This from wikipedia:

Raw broad beans contain vicine, isouramil and convicine, which can induce hemolytic anemia in patients with the hereditary condition glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD). This potentially fatal condition is called "favism" after the fava bean.

This condition is not to be confused with favre-ism which is a form of fatigue brought on by too many Brett Favre reports.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Do you grow tomatoes, egg plants, potatoes, rhubarb, delphiniums, hellebores, hyacinths, daffodils ......? We grow many toxic plants in our gardens. As mrclint says, favism is rare. Maybe it would be better to educate the children not to eat anything in the garden unless they are sure what it is or have checked with an adult. Get them to learn about assessing risk, not attempt to remove it entirely from their experience.

Here is a link that might be useful: favism


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RE: Why not try favas?

Thank you Mr Clint and Flora for the links. I really did not think the plants were a danger and as I explained to the children's garden committee, my husbansd and I have been buying and eating fava beans purchased from our local grocery stores and farmers markets for years and there are certainly never any signs posted as to any danger from ingesting them! I'm new to this Children's Garden Committee and I'm afraid I have been cast into the role of the wicked witch who is trying to poison kids! By the way, I ordered my seeds from Peaceful Valley Organic Farm Supply out of Grass Valley CA. I also bought the legume seed inoculent from them inorder to fix more nitrogen into the soil. (Maybe that seemed a little too much like witchcraft to the committee!) I usually hang out at the Soil & Compost Forums but want to thank you people for your reassurances.


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 8, 08 at 17:40

Time for you to go on offense. The percentages would be far greater that one of the children might be allergic to bee stings, spider bites, peanuts or something one would never even consider. The garden (and the world in general) is full of hurtful things to unsupervised children. Ask the garden committee if children are ever left unattended in the garden. If they are not allowed to put things in their mouths, play with sharp objects and taught to respect the various coming and goings of garden creatures, then everything will be fine. If children are not being supervised, the committee needs be much more aware and should draw up safety guidelines.


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RE: Why not try favas?

I'm glad that when I was a kid, it was still cool to carry a jackknife, climb trees, jump off garage roofs and race bikes bareheaded without some "Save The Children" person standing around having hysterics. We had alot of fun and never got seriously hurt.


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RE: Why not try favas?

"We had alot of fun and never got seriously hurt."

Well, not TOO seriously. Just the occasional broken arm or wound that needed stitches. But I agree with your sentiments. And don't forget the cap guns and BB guns. :)

Jim


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 12, 08 at 16:39

My favas came (22 of them....LOL) so I planted 15 of them in a spot (z9) and 7 on another (Z10). In z9 I have the row between two pepper plants, where I had tomatoes earlier this year, now they are gone....I was out of compost since I emptied my compost pile on the bed I did for the King Beans (Insuk Wank Kong). So I used purchased composted steer manure and worm castings, adding them to some already pretty good soil. I hope it works and we get some favas!


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RE: Why not try favas?

I'm kind of late jumping into this conversation, but I just grew favas for the first time last year and had some obsevations:
**Although they were only supposed to get about 3-4 feet tall, my fava plants got over 6 feet tall!
**Favas are very productive.
**Fava beans are kind of labor intensive: after you shell them and boil them, you have to remove the membrane on the outside of each bean. It is a good activity to do while watching T.V. or have friends help (extra hands make it go faster).
**Favas taste sort of like edamame.
**Favas make really good humus in place of garbanzos.
**Most people are not very enthusiastic when you first offer them favas, but after they taste some fava humus, everyone wants some.

Hope that helps.


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 5, 09 at 22:05

All 7 favas we planted in z10 sprouted and are looking great, however, sadly, none of the ones I planted in z9 have sprouted. Why not? maybe something ate them? Darn! I am so glad now I decided to plant some in each place, good insurance. 7 plants will not be enough to do much with but hopefully we can save seed and try again.


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 12, 09 at 19:39

My favas are sprouting in z9! Wow, big difference in sprouting time with just a few degrees cooler temperature. I feel so silly for being upset when I thought they were not going to come up, an now so happy when they finally did! I also believe this is the only forum where people are going to understand me being so happy over just a few beans sprouting....


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RE: Why not try favas?

We understand cabrita. Good job you didn't dig over the plot. I checked my October sown row on Sunday and they are still OK. Now about 2 inches high. Soon be time to put in the next row in early February.


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RE: Why not try favas?

So I picked some up a while back. Is it too late to direct sow them in the garden? If it's not, how long till harvest?


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RE: Why not try favas?

I don't know what your growing conditions are but I will be sowing more broad beans outdoors from early February until about early May. Whether it is 'too late' in your climate I can't say. In mine it's too early. But the sap is rising in the gardener as the snowdrops get going and the first daffodils are just about to flower so I've sown 3 dozen Aquadulce Claudia in modules in the porch ready to plant out in about three-four weeks.


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by cabrita 9b & 10a (21 & 23) (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 24, 09 at 12:15

Flora, do you also grow peas? would you say the growing conditions for favas are like for peas? I have no option to sow more favas (out of seed) but all I know is that if I do not get off my butt and plant more peas really soon (today would be good) it will be too late for me. Last year my crop burned when the heat came and I did not get all the peas I could have gotten. The ones i got were yummy though!


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RE: Why not try favas?

I find peas much more difficult to get right. They need a bit more warmth than favas and are not as robust when bad weather hits. Mine generally end up either not growing very much or growing quite well and then getting mildew. Plus mice love the seeds. They also get pea and bean beetles which nibble notches out of the leaves. On strong growing plants this is not a problem but mine never seem to be strong growing! Peas work some years but favas work every year. Favas give me a lot more bang for my buck. In my climate the problem of heat is not one I have to face much.


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RE: Why not try favas?

"I find peas much more difficult to get right. They need a bit more warmth than favas and are not as robust when bad weather hits."

Wow, really! so favas are VERY cold hardy, because the peas like it cold here. Of course, by cold I mean our version of cold, and we have a lot of sunny weather even when it is cool. My favas are looking good (something is eating one of them a little). Peas have done well here so far until the heat arrives and they just burn, this is why we plant early. I did plant more peas, proud of myself since the last planting required making a new bed. More garden expansion, yes! a bit of work but so worth it. I now have 4 types on the ground so I will start a separate thread on peas later.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Knowing how cold hardy fava beans are, I tried planting some this October to see if they would make it through our reasonably mild west coast of British Columbia winter which is not too much colder than UK winters . However, we have had our coldest winter in over 20 years (it got down to -15 C or 5 F)and they froze solid. But I think that I will try again in a few weeks. Our snow drops are almost blooming so I will see if the beans can survive the frosts we often get in February and March.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Are they definitely dead? Have you dug them up? If not you could leave them and see if they recover. The trick is to have them not more than a couple of inches high at the onset of Winter. Too tall and they get battered by the weather. Some years I lose them, not so much to cold as to wet and rot.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Flora,

They look quite dead but I can wait and see before pulling them up. I am sure that I planted them too early in the Fall. They had grown to nearly two feet tall before the cold weather hit.

One of my motives for trying fava beans is to see how much frost they take. Our son is an agricultural developer in a mountainous area of Nepal. Nutrition deficiencies are extreme in that area, especially among children, partly b/c the growing season is short. In winter, the night time temperatures often drop to -5 C (23 F) but the sun is strong in the day time and temperatures rise to 15 - 25 C (60 - 77 F).

I have been reading about fava beans, with their high protein value they could be very valuable. I wonder if they could produce as a winter crop in those conditions. I know that they can take some frost but.....

Any thoughts?

Thankyou

Bob


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RE: Why not try favas?

Fabulous recipe here, though I cheated and used canned artichoke hearts, well drained and dried

Here is a link that might be useful: Ottolenghi's Artichokes with Boad (Fava) Beans


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RE: Why not try favas?

Another one here (scroll down the page). Because my other half is vegetarian, I omitted the bacon and it was still delicious.

I love broad/fava beans and they always get one of my beds. I've never tred overwintering but go for an early spring sowing, in toilet rolls under cover and then placing the toilet roll in the ground when the roots are showing.

Personally, I don't eat the pods (although you can when they are very young) as I much prefer the taste of the shelled beans. I heven't found it necessary to skin the shelled beans, but you might if you had a glut of very mature beans. They also freeze well, shelled.

Main pest problem in the UK is blackfly, an aphid which commonly infests these beans. If you pinch out the growing tops (which themselves delicious, as a previous poster pointed out) this can ameliorate or forestall the problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nigel Slater's Braised lettuce with broad beans and bacon


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RE: Why not try favas?

I have a single fava plant growing in a container. I forget exactly when I planted it... probably in November. (I also forget what kind it is, either Agua Dulce or Broad Windsor, both of which Ruthie sent me last year.) It's now full of flowers.


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 13, 09 at 21:17

bobb_grow: In colder regions (including Nepal) I would consider cobbling together some cold frames. Seal them up tight at night and let them build up heat during the day. You can use old windows, sliding glass doors and the like for the top sections. I am in no way an expert with hot frames, I just know that when the next ice age comes because humans almost never get it right when they get into "group think" mode, I'll be putting together some cold frames. Being able to harvest fresh food year round is something that would be hard for me to stop.

My favas have been going great guns so far, but no pods yet. I did see a variety of FB on Paul James' show that had a purple flower. Now that would be something to trial.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Thankyou, mrclint. We were wondering if row covers or plastic sheets might be enough protection for fava's in -5 C (23 F) temperatures. Interestingly, the valley in Nepal is at the same latitude as Northern Mexico but at 7,000 feet elevation, nights are often frosty, despite the warm, bright days.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Bob you can also put dark bricks or containers of water inside the cold frame to absorb heat from the sun and release it overnight.


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RE: Why not try favas?

My Armenian neighbors were amazed to see me growing favas, they couldn't believe I knew what they were. But I eat the mature seeds and they liked the pods at 4" and cooked them with a couple of changes of water and I think baking soda, then served them as an accompaniement to beef with gravy.

I pop the seeds out of the seed coat after boiling. I've also cut the dry beans, soaked, in half to remove the seed coat and cooked the beans. The beans remind me of big mealy lima beans I've eaten in the South.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Thankyou for the helpful ideas re frost protection. I would also be very interested to hear from people how much frost fava can take without protection. Are there some varieties much more cold resistant than others?


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RE: Why not try favas?

I have heard that thre are basically three groups, dwarf, windsor and longpod, of which longpods are much more suitable for overwintering in the UK. I have read advice (from the BBC gardening pages) that Windsor are emphatically not suitable for overwintering. Longpod varieties include the Aguadulces.

The same advice says that protection may be necessary in harsh winters throughout the UK, or in colder parts in normal winters.

I garden in Bristol, which is comparatively mild and wet compared to other paerts of the UK, with a 'normal' winter low (if there is such a thing any more) of about -5 celsius. I would expect to grow favas without protection over winter except on the very coldest nights.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Thankyou, Frothelhorse. Very helpful. Based on it, I looked up fava on the BBC pages and found some helpful references to several varieties. It calls all of them 'hardy' but am not exactly sure how that is defined in the UK.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Bob, this is my first time growing fava and here is what I found. I planted at the end of October. We have a cold winter this year in North Carolina with night temperatures in the teens several nights. We still have cold nights (it is 22 degrees Fahrenheit tonight). My co-worker told me temperature went down to 9 degrees Fahrenheit one night which I don't remember. The fava bean survived fine. I did not lose even one out of about 100 plants.


I don't know what variety I got though. I bought a bag of dry fava beans in a Chinese grocery store. Less than $2 for about 1 lb. The germination rate is around 70%.


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RE: Why not try favas?

ncvgarden,

That's a lot of frost! Did you use any protection of any kind?

Bob


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RE: Why not try favas?

Bobb if your son is growing in Nepal, has he considered Cardamom?

From the Wiki:
It is one of the most expensive spices by weight and little is needed to impart the flavor.
and
Until recently,Nepal has been the world's largest producer of large cardamom

Here is a link that might be useful: Cardamom


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RE: Why not try favas?

Bob:
I did not provide any protection. There was frost damage on some of the more exposed tender tips on most of the plants, which cause the tips to die back. However, the damage is localized on each plant and did not appear to impact the overall vigor. There are plenty healthy branches and new growth. I was surprised to see a few bloom buds on some the plants last weekend.


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RE: Why not try favas?

How are everybody's favas doing? Mine got some amazing white and black flowers and they are getting taller, but still less than 2 feet. I was pleasantly surprised at how pretty these flowers are - I will try to take a picture and post this weekend.

So they sprouted in Jan 10 or so, they have been flowering for a week or so, mid March, so this is three months to flower. Is this normal? does it seem like a long time? They do look like healthy plants, just not growing really fast. Maybe as the days get longer they will speed up the growth?


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RE: Why not try favas?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 19, 09 at 1:29

The fava trial continues. So far, so good. The plants are growing like weeds. Nicely scented flowers. Some black aphids on a few that I hose off every so often. This morning I brought in some immature pods, shelled them, and added the small beans to an omelet. Nice flavor. They seem to be coming on strong as the shelling peas have begun to falter. Can't say enough good things about favas. Well worth the effort and will definitely plant again.


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RE: Why not try favas?

I planted Fava beans in November and they have been flowered a month on very healthy plants but no pods, not a single beans. I am thinking to pull them out now. Very puzzling


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RE: Why not try favas?

has anybody ever tried pre germinating favas like peas?


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Broad Bean Puree

While watching a couple of episodes of Iron Chef (I'm addicted to it), there were two or three instances of the chefs using broad bean puree in their creations. Naturally, as a beanophile, this caught my attention. The stuff looked like it might be a good use of beans. A Google search (results linked below) brought forth a lot of information. Favas are in my future.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Broad Bean Puree


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RE: Why not try favas?

This is my first year NOT growing favas in N. California in several years. I have grown those for cover crops, and the smaller ones; I think these are preferred for fresh eating. I am usually harvesting more beans than I feel like dealing with, just about the time I need to pull them to plant tomatoes. Late April in inland N. Cal.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Does one fava bean plant produce alot of pods? I bought a pack of Broad Windsor Fava Bean seed. It has 17 seeds in it. If I planted snap beans or peas I'd plant ALOT more than that to get a decent sized crop. Are fava plants more like tomatoes or zucchini as far as production goes....meaning that a few plants will produce enough for a couple of people. Or should I pick up a few more packs of fava seed? Obviously, this is a new crop for me. It should be interesting to see how favas grow.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Each plant will produce 6-12 pods of 2-6 beans. Expect to harvest about 30 for every one you plant.

Mine are about 30" right now and fully in flower. I find they tend to bloom for a while then produce all the pods at the same time. They don't really produce for an extended period like many other vegetables do, but they could probably be succession planted for an extended harvest. I kept seed last year and direct sowed around 1000 last fall all over the yard because they improve the soil, look decent and grow when we get natural (and free) water. Next year I'll plant as many as 10,000 for soil improvement, weed suppression and compost. A manual coring lawn aerator makes perfect holes for planting favas and peas.


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RE: Why not try favas?

"Are fava plants more like tomatoes or zucchini as far as production goes....meaning that a few plants will produce enough for a couple of people."

I would say no. I don't think of favas, or any beans, in terms of individual plants such as tomatoes. I think of them in terms of a mass planting. A packet containing 17 bean seeds is skimpy, IMO.

Jim


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RE: Why not try favas?

As Promethean says the way to get an extended harvest is successional sowing, if your climate allows. I sow in November aand then three or four more times between February and late April. But we have quite a forgiving climate with long springs. I usually put in a fifteen foot row each time.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Taste report on the favas (Windsor variety by the way). We finally got to harvest a few. When I grow a legume for the first time, I like to taste them at all stages. So we harvested some as green bean snaps, and later as tender seeds (shellies). They were not bad as green beans, quite edible, but not my favorite. I have to say though they blew me away as shellies! Seriously delicious. I am planting more next year, and will plant multiple times as Flora describes, but only Nov-Dec-Jan planting for us (it has already been 97 F here). I wish they grew better in my garden, so I need to find better spots for them. Maybe I'll try several spots and use them as cover crops as well as the peas. Promethean, are you serious, 10,000 ?!?!?!?!? your place must be very large.

Does anyone know if they dislike slightly alkaline soils? (mine is). Maybe it is just too sunny here? too dry? I do water them regularly though.


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RE: Why not try favas?

Cabrita - glad you enjoyed your 'broad beans' (our name for favas). I like them picked as young shellies but if you pick them older they can get a tough skin which people then slide off after cooking. Personally that's too much faff for me. Try them some bits of fried bacon - a marriage made in heaven. Or cook them and toss in a vinaigrette and serve as a warm salad.

My November sown beans are now flowering and the indoor sown February transplants are not far behind. I have also got some direct March sown beans coming up and last week sowed another row. I'll probably sow 1 or 2 more rows before summer. Our seasons are altogether much slower and more even than yours, Cabrita. Never very cold and never very hot. Spring lasts a long time - a good 3 months gradually warming up so the growing season is long but slow.


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RE: Why not try favas?

10k is only a 50'x60' block if they're planed every 4" in rows 12" apart. ;) We have about an acre of flat yard (and 5 more of steep hill and gully), and there are small fruit trees in a couple spots. Favas seem a perfect cover crop for planting between leafless fruit trees in winter. We have wood-chip mulch so I just use a hoe to make a furrow down to the soil, lay a line of seeds and rake the mulch back on top. They sprout up through several inches of mulch with no problem. They don't get as big this way as the ones in the garden because the soil is poorer, but their main job is to add nitrogen and improve the tillith of the soil around the fruit trees. There's not much going on in the garden around November as far as work goes, so I get bored and plant favas...

I tried one as a 'green bean' a week ago (pods are growing fast right now) and though it was okay. Not great, not bad. I guess if you're a green bean nut it's a good cold weather alternative. I heard they're good if you grill the whole pods while the beans are fat and juicy, I tried it but over-grilled them and they came out dry/mealy. I had the best results boiling them briefly, but will try grilling again since it's easy.


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