FAVA BEANS growing information

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

This is my third year growing FAVA BEANS.
I just love them.

The first year I started the FAVA BEANS from seed in October and harvested in May.
My second year the FAVA BEAN plants got distroyed by the record freeze we had in February 2011.
This year I started my FAVA BEANS from seed in September and since the weather has been so mild in Dallas, the plants are huge .. at least 4'.

I love to go to my veggie garden and eat the FAVA BEAN's flowers ... they taste like candies !! yummy !!

But today I have noticed a small bean forming from one of the spent flower .... and duuuuhhh OMG !
... and this is a really stupid question ... and I think I know the answer ...

Does every flower create a bean pod?

or they are just flowers ?

Please answer by your own experience on growing Fava Beans.

Thumbnail by drthor
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Look how gorgeous are the FAVA BEAN plants

Thumbnail by drthor
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I think I should grow them in my regular flower bed.

Thumbnail by drthor
Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

Wow! Your fava beans look amazing and healthy. Mine are only 5 to 10 inches tall at this point in the year and nowhere near flowering. Every flower that gets pollinated will produce a bean, and in my experience, most to all get pollinated, so you will have a ton of beans (unless of course you eat all the flowers first).

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

oh oh ...I have been eating the flowers ...
thanks

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I plan to grow Cucumbers in the Fava Beans area.
I will cut the beans down to the soil and plant the cucumbers in between.
I have learn that the root of the beans have small sacks of pure nitrogen ...

I am really curios to see how my cucumbers will do.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

What a great idea for crop rotation. I think I'll do that too. I tend to be kind of haphazard about planning where to plant--any empty spot will do.

I think it's fine to eat the flowers too. Seems like whatever you have done before is working for you--eat some flowers, leave some to become beans. I didn't know the bean flowers were edible, so now I plan to try then at the first opportunity, though that won't come in my climate until later in the year.

Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

I am not familiar with Fava Beans, but have heard they are wonderful! I never knew they were beautiful, too! What variety do you grow - I have learned there are different color beans. Thanks for the enlightenment!!
Samantha

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Fava Bean Delle Cascine http://www.gourmetseed.com/product/VFA03/Fava-Bean-Delle-Cascine.html
Fava Bean Extra Precoce Violetto http://www.gourmetseed.com/product/VFA05/Fava-Bean-Extra-Precoce-Violetto.html

Fava Beans are very common in Italy where I come from. Here in the USA, they are a delicacy in fancy restaurants.
They are actually a vetch and not a bean.
Some people use the plant in the regular flower garden because it is so pretty.

I CANNOT grow peas here in Dallas !!
But the new top shoots of the Fava Beans taste just like peas .... yummy ... and I also use leaves in the salad.
You definitely need to try them.

When you cook them it will be better than you blanch the beans in boiling salty water for a couple of minutes.
Shock them in an ice bath until they feel cold and remove the outside peal.
It seems like a lot of work, but it is not ...
After that you can saute' as you like.

They taste like the "stars" ... delish !

Now ... OMG ... I need to go back to the website I gave you .. I just realized that they have a 5% sale !! aaahhhh ... I am a ASH = anonymus seedholic

Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

Thank you, drthor - I will buy some right away! And, likely, some other things as well!! I can't wait to try them!!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

This is timely; I just ordered some Aquadulce fava beans from Landreth Seeds. DH wanted us to try them; we've never grown them before. The uncooked bean supposedly has a substance that can sicken some people, although others aren't affected. I wonder whether the flower would pose the same problems.

DH has eaten them; I never have. I'll be looking for recipes. Drthor, they are a legume as are other beans; all vetches are part of the legume family.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

thanks for the clarification.
I have eaten from the Fava Beans: leaves, flowers and raw seed pods ... I am still alive
Yesterday I noticed that there are a lot of small beans forming ... weeee

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Here a picture of a FAVA BEAN pod

Thumbnail by drthor
Eatonton, GA(Zone 8a)

Thank you Drthor! You give me hope that I will actually someday see beans on mine! I planted them in Oct/Nov and the plants have been flowering since early January. They are huge - we just had to make a corral for them - they're about 4 feet tall and loaded with blossoms, but not a single bean. The few really cold temps we've had (I think lowest was 24) killed a few flowers, but I'd covered the beans with flannel sheets for two days to wait out the cold. They all sprung up and made more flowers. Might go pick some to eat... Thanks!
Cindy

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Good luck to you. Keep me posted.
I normally pick them in May ... but I think this year will be sooner

Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

So - favas are cool-season crops? If so, it is too late for me to start this year - tomorrow it will be 80 degrees, & it will be hot soon. Maybe I had better wait until fall?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I dunno ...
I always plant the in the fall here in Dallas.
Why don't you try just a few seeds anyway and let us know, ok?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I grow peas in Fort Worth with no problems! You have to direct sow them about now. Wando Peas are usually the ones we grow.

Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

OK - well, I just got some from Gourmet Seed, so I will try a few & see!!

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Some of my Fava Bean pods are already 4" long ... wow

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from greenhouse_gal :
This is timely; I just ordered some Aquadulce fava beans from Landreth Seeds. DH wanted us to try them; we've never grown them before. The uncooked bean supposedly has a substance that can sicken some people, although others aren't affected. I wonder whether the flower would pose the same problems.


Actually the "substance" can be fatal, and is apparently even present in the pollen. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/202897/favism

I certainly wouldn't be eating any part unless you know you have not inherited the susceptibility to favism.

-Rich

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from drthor :
I have learn that the root of the beans have small sacks of pure nitrogen ...


That is an interesting story, though false. The nitrogen-fixing nodules that sometimes form in the roots of legumes are caused by the presence of symbiotic bacteria of the genus rhizobium. The actual species is very specific as to which type of legume it will bond with. The nodules are actually areas where the cells of the legumes' root structure have been modified by the presence of the bacteria. The roots supply the bacteria with energy in the form of carbohydrates and some minerals; the bacteria in turn convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by both bacteria and host. What nitrogen is available is quickly taken up into the plant and used in the production of proteins and related compounds in the green parts of the plant. The nodules themselves contain very little nitrogen other than that absorbed by the root cells for their own use.

It is a popular and pervasive myth that simply growing legumes contributes significant amounts of nitrogen to the soil. A matching strain of rhizobium must also be present, and the legume itself must be plowed in to enrich the soil because the nitrogen that was created has long since been distributed throughout the plant. In cases where the plant is grown for it's seed and the seeds removed, the greater part of the nitrogen is removed along with them.

BTW, nodules on roots can also be caused by things other than rhizobium (such as root-knot nematodes, which are not good for the plants).

-Rich

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Quote from rjogden :


Actually the "substance" can be fatal, and is apparently even present in the pollen. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/202897/favism

I certainly wouldn't be eating any part unless you know you have not inherited the susceptibility to favism.

-Rich


So how does one know short of having chemical studies done through bloodwork? DH has eaten fava beans in the past; I don't know whether I ever have.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

I've grown the Aquadulce and they were delish. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Sequee!

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from greenhouse_gal :
So how does one know short of having chemical studies done through bloodwork? DH has eaten fava beans in the past; I don't know whether I ever have.

Sorry, I don't know. Your ancestry should give you a hint, since the gene that makes a person susceptible is only known to be carried by a small number of people whose ancestors originated in specific areas around the Eastern Mediterranean. Starting with ingesting very small amounts while monitoring your "fluids" for signs of abnormal changes might work...or it might not. We are talking about potentially fatal reactions here. I wouldn't have brought it up except for the fact that there seems to be a lot of recent interest in growing and eating them. I have been experimenting with growing them myself as a source of fresh vegetable protein during a time of the year when more common local sources (beans, cowpeas, long beans) won't survive the cold.

If we were in Europe and knew our ancestry, chances are we would already know whether we were susceptible to favism. But we are in America; for most of us it has been a LONG time since our ancestors arrived here, and that knowledge (if it existed) is likely to have been lost in a land where Favas are virtually unknown except to a small number of people who have preserved the traditions, or gourmets and gardeners who are always on the lookout for something new.

Please don't shoot the messenger. I am only relaying the information because it might save someone's life, not to inconvenience anyone. I'll just close with a couple of lines from the Google articles on favism and hemolytic anemia:

"not all people with G6PD deficiency will manifest a physically observable reaction to consumption of broad beans"

"Symptoms of hemolytic anemia are similar to other forms of anemia (fatigue and shortness of breath), but in addition, the breakdown of red cells leads to jaundice and increases the risk of particular long-term complications, such as gallstones and pulmonary hypertension... signs of anemia (pallor, fatigue, shortness of breath, and potential for heart failure) are present...Certain aspects of the medical history can suggest a cause for hemolysis, such as drugs, consumption of fava beans, the presence of prosthetic heart valve, or other medical illness."

-Rich

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

My family and all my neighbors in Italy have been eating fava beans and parts of the plants like flowers and leaved for centuries ... I am glad that we are still alive.
Thanks for the info rjogden, very interesting.
Here a bean pod maybe 6" ...weeeee

Thumbnail by drthor
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

If you will look close at this picture you can see many beans forming

Thumbnail by drthor
Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about favism; the seed company from which I bought mine noted that they can be dangerous to some people if eaten raw. I did see the information via Google, and it's disturbing. My people come from Hungary and Russia, but are originally from the Eastern Mediterranean being of Semitic origins. So who knows....

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

I have eaten cooked fava beans, but never any part of the plant raw. I looked at the link about favism out of curiosity, and it is a good thing to be aware of more details concerning who might be at risk. My ethnic group (Armenian) was mentioned as one of those potentially at risk though I don't think of my grandparents as being Mediterranean. They were from eastern Turkey. That the pollen could be a problem for an allergic person is more of a possible concern for me since I don't really like the beans raw. Perhaps I will pass on eating the flowers and stick with nasturtiums as a flower for salad garnish.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I did some more checking and saw that favism is a problem with Sephardic groups and not Ashkenazic, among Semitic peoples. Ashkenazic groups tend to come from eastern Europe rather than the Mediterranean or Africa.

If you've eaten them and are still doing well they probably don't affect you....

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

It certainly does give one pause. I am so nonchalant about eating everything while gardening...a nibble of this leaf, a smidge of that flower. So far so good, but let's face oit. When it comes to death, it only takes once!!! Certainly best to err on the side of caution.

Eatonton, GA(Zone 8a)

One other note on the fava beans - I came across something that said people on MAO inhibiters (some blood pressure/heart meds) shouldn't eat them. I'd check your drug list for any warnings.

And I've been fretting over mine not producing beans - I found a nearly full grown pod the other day, then this morning these - circled in red. The other photos are just more of the favas.

Hmm. Seem to have uploaded the same photo twice, but I can't find a way to delete it. Sorry! - C

This message was edited Mar 8, 2012 12:06 PM

Thumbnail by Cindy_GA Thumbnail by Cindy_GA Thumbnail by Cindy_GA
Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Saw the note about MAO inhibitors but wasn't concerned about that. Interesting, though! Yours look great. I just planted mine this morning, but there were only about 15 seeds in the package, of which I had two, so I could just plant a half row.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

They will reward you justly. They are stocky, attractive plants, loaded with beans. I really enjoyed growing them.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Just put in my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant seeds, too, in flats indoors. It's getting to be that time!

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Cindy_GA
I am so happy that you also are going to harvest Fava beans really soon.
I think I will start next week ...

When did you start your Fava Bean from seeds?

I did start mine from seeds at the beginning of September.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

hemolytic anemia means your red blood cells hemolyze (burst) releasing all that hemoglobin (iron pigment) into your plasma which has to be removed by your kidneys. If substantial hemolysis takes place, trying to clear it all will destroy the kidneys. As hemoglobin breaks down into bilirubin (bile) the urine and eventually the eyes and skin will be golden colored. bilirubin in the plasma of your blood is toxic to the brain. The effects are proportional to the amount one consumes. ( I am a retired Clinical Laboratory Scientist. BS degree)

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

That all sounds exceedingly unpleasant, Steadycam! Here's hoping none of us contract it from fava beans....

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

There is emergency treatment if it happens. Dialysis ASAP, to do the job for the kidneys so they wont be destroyed.

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