The Fabulous Fava Bean

Jannie Vaught

Last winter was the first time I even considered fava beans or broad beans other than butter beans or Lima beans. These were just not in my library of eating or growing. So I researched the fava. Favas are a specific kind of broad bean which includes, lima, fava, and some runner beans. Favas are a cold-weather bean often planted with snow peas and barley in the late fall. I planted 3 varieties, Long pod, Sweet Lorain, and Broad Windsor as a trial to see which would grow the best here in zone 8a. Planted them in my raised beds in front of the trellis. Marked the name. I placed about 2 inches of fluffy hay over them and went inside for the cold to arrive. To my surprise, they broke ground and were growing. Not knowing if they needed a trellis I attempted to push them into the trellis, they do not need a trellis! And grow Upright. Straight stalks with leaves and soon brilliant colored pea flowers. The beans soon appeared with the spent flower on the bean-like a hula skirt.

And do they grow!

Fava beans are one of those plants that you can eat the leaves and pods. And left on the plant they make a very large bean in a lush pod. Which you can eat fresh or left on the plant to dry and store as a dried bean or save for seeds. As of today the end of April they are producing where the snow peas are gone. They are making flowers and every day the pods get bigger! Another success. Of the 3 variety, I planted the Long Pod Fava from Ed Hume seed was superior! Sturdy, big beans and resistant to any extreme cold or insect issues. These are nitrogen-fixing plants as all beans and peas. When It is time to cut them back I will clip them off above the root. Then chop some of the upper portions and gently fold it into the surrounding soil. The tougher portions and old leaves will be dried for nesting material for the chickens later in the season.

These Fabulous Favas are ancient plants grown as a main crop in the middle ages. And were the Magic Bean in the story Jack and the Bean Stalk. If you are wanting a superior Food producing plant with very little fuss grow Long Pod Fava. I’m considering next year to plant them in the ground in the garden saving my raised beds for more garlic and herbs.

Pleased with last falls planting and growing Spring Green With Jannie.