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.
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).
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.
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!!
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
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.
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!
greenhouse_gal wrote: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.
drthor wrote: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).
greenhouse_gal wrote: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."
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
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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)
Hi drthor - I have to check for certain, but I think I planted the favas in late October. I had to cover them three or four times this winter (much milder than typical), but they didn't seem to suffer much from the cold. A few of the plants looked a bit wilted after a two day cover, but they popped right back up. I can't wait to eat some fresh beans. Hope yours continue to do well too!
I tried starting my Favas in individual 24-count cell packs to get a jump on the season, then had some "animal issues" with my garden and didn't get them transplanted before the first hard freeze.
Interestingly (to me, at least) there were very distinct differences in how the varieties responded. It was NOT a scientific test - no randomization - but what I observed was that the Negreta and Statissa varieties showed some recovery and regrowth. The other varieties I had planted - Aguadulce S. Simonia Sel. Marocco, Da Orto SuperAguadulce, Delle Cascine, Extra Precoce Violetto, and Nintoku Giant - were killed outright.
Mind you this was in shallow trays fully exposed to temps in the mid-20's and may not be indicative of what they would have done in the ground. As with everything to do with plants, YMMV.
greenhouse_gal wrote:Why did you grow so many different types of fava beans, Rich? I'm growing just plain Aquadulce, from Landreth's Seeds, but all the favas are supposed to be resistant to cold weather.
How are you doing with your neighbors' animals these days?
GG, long story, I'll try to make it as short as I can.
I am trying to come up with a garden plan that will put at least some fresh food on the table every day using a limited amount of space. I take that a step further and say I would like an assortment every day - like maybe a pod vegetable and a leaf or a root vegetable. I know it's difficult to do 365 days but I think it can be done.
"Leafy" veggies are easy here in winter. Kales, collards and Brussels sprouts sail right through our coldest days without a blink, broccoli will burn a little but keeps producing new growth, and there are a lot more to add to the list for variety - turnip greens, mustards, and a bewildering variety of Chinese species and hybrids. Chard doesn't like the coldest nights but is worth a little extra trouble because it's a very different type of flavor and source of different nutrients than the Brassicas - and because the critters that demolished my Brassicas and Florence fennels left them almost completely alone, so I am harvesting a rainbow of varieties for my table (and data for future planning - on Argentata 2, Fantasia Orange, Flamingo Pink, Golden (from Territorial), Golden Sunrise, Magenta Sunset, Oriole Orange, Riccia da Taglio , Ruby Red, Sibilla and Umaina. [The strongest producers, BTW, appeared to be the green and white stemmed types, at least this year and from these batches of seeds. Stay tuned.] ;o).
Roots are pretty easy in the sandy soils here (especially compared with the red clays I left behind in Athens Georgia), and depending on the species and variety they offer a wealth of antioxidants or are great sources of carbohydrates for energy. And flavors! Perennial green onions grow here like weeds with a minimum of attention, sweet short-day onions and carrots and beets do fine with a little work, "waxy" potatoes do so well they are actually grown commercially not far away (though best planted after the coldest weather). I'm trying 13 varieties of garlic to see if the Creole types will grow any better or store longer than the more common types - there is surprising amount of variation in flavor, aroma and heat.
Fruits OTOH are kind of out of season (pun intended) unless you do your homework and are fortunate enough (and willing to spend the money for) moveable containers and a place to put them. There is a special feeling frying up your own fresh grown Italian peppers in January!
That leaves the winter pod vegetables - legumes - as the next challenge for me. Green/English/snow peas are a "winter" crop here, but I've never known them to go straight through - one night in the mid 20's or lower will finish them, and they do not recover well if at all. I am especially fond of snow peas, but going to the trouble to rig up covers for trellises - well, it's not in the cards right now. With that in mind, I wanted to see if there were alternatives that could supply the types of amino acids that legumes provide that would survive the cold and continue to produce from a fall planting. I was aware some people in this climate have success growing Favas in winter, but specific information on planting dates, variety selections and culture needs are virtually nonexistent. I think the Florida Extension Service would like to pretend they don't exist, but the truth is they just don't have the time or funding to go chasing every obscure edible. Fortunately, I have just enough of both.
Having very little to go by, and wanting to collect information not only about hardiness but also productivity and flavor, I decided to use the familiar shotgun approach. I unfortunately don't have the space for a true randomized plot design, but I can at least collect enough information over a few years of side-by-side growing to make decisions about which varieties have the best chance of putting food on my table (that I will actually want to eat, that is ;o). Reading some of the catalogs and accounts of overseas growers I was aware there is (naturally) a lot of difference in flavors and textures among even the limited number of varieties available here.
That's why it was so exasperating to find my neighbors chickens demolishing my efforts. Not that I can't go out and buy vegetables (at least for now I can), but I've lost a season of information. That is much harder to replace, and at 62 there's no way of knowing how many seasons I have left.
The chickens haven't been in the garden in a while. Whether that is due to my winging a few with BB's or the neighbor reigning them in, or maybe just the availability of more fresh food alternatives now that warmer and wetter weather have arrived, I couldn't say.
Wow, your approach to growing vegetables is truly impressive! What you are looking for is a potager, it sounds like - never enough to freeze or store, but always something fresh growing for the table. Or are you trying to do both? You might enjoy Georgeanne Brennan's In a French Kitchen Garden, where she breaks the year into seasons and talks about the produce that does well in each one, although it sounds as though you already know what will work in your area.
I'm glad to hear that the chicken depredations have subsided and I hope it's because your neighbor has reined them in. We often see chickens wandering around unfenced and wonder how they stay out of others' gardens AND out of the road...
Wow Rich - you're my hero! I'm on a similar mission, but without as much organization. I'm trying hard to keep from purchasing veggies/fruits that I can grow here, at least part of the year. I figure I'm never going to grow bananas (don't tell me about the new variety that is more cold-tolerant - I have enough to do!) but I can produce most of our greens, beans, etc. I envy you the weather in Gainesville - we go to Cedar Key fairly often and love the temps/season in your area. My garden is about 90 minutes south of Athens, GA and I use raised beds which avoids some of the clay issues you described. Thanks for telling your story.
The favas have been doing well here for me this year, but I am not certain of the variety - got my seeds from someone and I didn't note the type. I planted them in October, they are starting to have beans now. They did wind up spending 4 nights under white flannel type sheets on two occasions this winter and a couple of nights under light plastic. None were killed, a couple were bent by the sheets, but are growing most determinedly with a kink in the stem. Some of the plants are approaching 5 feet tall! Amazing collection.
Cindy_GA wrote:The favas have been doing well here for me this year, but I am not certain of the variety - got my seeds from someone and I didn't note the type. I planted them in October, they are starting to have beans now. They did wind up spending 4 nights under white flannel type sheets on two occasions this winter and a couple of nights under light plastic. None were killed, a couple were bent by the sheets, but are growing most determinedly with a kink in the stem. Some of the plants are approaching 5 feet tall! Amazing collection.
Hey, if it grows well for you, you like the results, and you save and replant your own seeds you're already at the next stage - making a variety your own. A lot of new strains are started by growing seeds of an open-pollinated type over and over in the same place. Over time, often just a few seasons of saving and sowing seeds from the best plants, a new strain is created that is uniquely suited to your specific conditions. That's what I eventually hope to achieve. I'm still in the screening stage.
greenhouse_gal wrote:What you are looking for is a potager, it sounds like - never enough to freeze or store, but always something fresh growing for the table. Or are you trying to do both? You might enjoy Georgeanne Brennan's In a French Kitchen Garden, where she breaks the year into seasons and talks about the produce that does well in each one, although it sounds as though you already know what will work in your area.
A potager it is! (I had to look it up). A kitchen garden - funny how words and phrases disappear from our language when the thing itself goes out of style. I had to order the book, even though of course the climate here is closer to SE Asia than to Western Europe ;o). Thanks for the reference!
I would grow enough to put some up if I ever left myself space. I may find myself with too much of something, but "extra" produce (what doesn't end up in sauces or the stew pot) almost always gets given away.
Rich, Brennan allows for different climates in her discussion; I think when she wrote it she was living in northern California. But she also has a place in southwest France. Her description of her first experience with fava beans is also in that book; it's not a thick tome but it's very nice anyway.
We eat out of our freezer all winter - snap beans, limas, asparagus, peas, turnips, zucchini when I'm successful with it - and lots of chicken and deer. I can never seem to grow enough spinach to freeze any significant amount, but we ate kale out of the garden most of the winter.
drthor wrote:I guess I didn't eat all the flowers ... lots of beans are forming
I doubt you could eat all the flowers. In fact, removing flowers is a classic technique for strengthening plants and making subsequent growth larger. It's allowing the fruit (seed pods in this case) to ripen that stops production; so just keep picking the pods green and don't hold back on munching a few flowers if it makes you happy!
Thank you for sharing! Oh my those look tasty! I can't wait to hear how they taste. I keep standing out by the beans chanting "grow, grow, grow". ;-) We are getting some really warm weather - it hit near 90 today - in March! Anyway, I'm hoping that means I can pick some favas soon. Small ones should be quite tasty. And that's what I do - saute in olive oil with a bit of garlic and pepper. Heavenly. I'm going to see some bush beans this weekend - at the rate that the warm is here, I may as well take advantage!
I did harvest more Fava beans yesterday and I finally sauted all of them with some garlic and parsley.
You can see in this picture that there is a really large bean in the middle ... I think that is the perfect size to harvest.
Maybe each bean was 3/4".
The smaller beans are good too.
drthor - Those look fabulous - but I have a "dumb" question - do you shell them at that size, or eat the whole thing? I got only 3 sprouts out of 12 - I soaked them for a few hours in water before planting in cells. I put the whole thing in a ziploc bag until I saw sprouts. I will plant them outside after a day or two of "hardening" them to the elements. I just hope it's not too late (hot) to get any beans!
I do shell the pods. They are soooo good and worth the extra time.
We had lots of wind and rain today, I sight at my Fava Beans down on the ground ... oohhhh ... they were almost horizontal ...
graceful_garden wrote:drthor - Those look fabulous - but I have a "dumb" question - do you shell them at that size, or eat the whole thing? I got only 3 sprouts out of 12 - I soaked them for a few hours in water before planting in cells. I put the whole thing in a ziploc bag until I saw sprouts. I will plant them outside after a day or two of "hardening" them to the elements. I just hope it's not too late (hot) to get any beans!
I've never heard of anyone eating the pods, have you dthor? Leaves, flowers, seeds, but never the pods. Guess they're just too tough at any stage.
g_g, the seeds are removed and must then be peeled again. Something to do while watching the news, I suppose.
The seeds are double podded, you are right.
But if they are harvested young , the pod just stay there or is really thin and it will not bother.
I bought some dried Fava Beans from the Italian store. By the way huge beans ...
I had to blanch the beans on salty boiling water for 2 minutes, shock them in ice and then remove the peel. Then you can cook them at your choice.
Harvesting beans from your own garden really makes a difference. The outside pod in not really hard.
I hope I will have more beans. Yesterday we had very strong wind all day ... my poor bean plants were split and down to the ground.
Last night and right now is still raining ...
Anyway, love Fava Beans plants and I am considering to use them in my flower garden next year.
They are really pretty and flowering in the middle of the winter, when everything else is dead.
drthor & rich - Thank you!! Boy, I would have had a yucky surprise if I had tried to eat the WHOLE bean - pod & all!! The 3 I have are doing well - thunderstorms this morning, so I have not gotten them in the ground yet - but the sun is out now!! When my grandboy takes his nap - I will get them planted out. I hope the mosquitoes won't carry me off!
Sounds like Fava Beans require quite a lot of work to get them to the table! I'm afraid I would not devote that much to them- Same reason I don't grow English Peas that need to be shelled- not only too much work for me, but seems like a waste to throw the hulls away! I grow Snow Peas- love eating the whole thing!
Drthor! That looks soooo good! I harvested a few beans last week and cooked them - very tasty. I'm planning to pick more today for dinner tonight - they have been growing wildly since they started to make a few pods. It seems that once they get going with pods, suddenly all plants are filled with them and they go pretty quickly from there. I peeled the big ones, left the skins on the smaller ones. I'll get some photos posted soon!
I need to try some bulbs of fennel. I grow bronze fennel for the seeds and the amazing scent. I add some to most tomato sauce dishes.
I am harvesting lots of Fava Beans.
The plants flopped down during the wind storm and they look a little spindly. Some of the tips are getting brown ... maybe too hot for them right now ...
I will keep them in the ground until my Okra plants are ready (so far they have only 2 true leaves)
I'll take some photos tomorrow, but all you'll see is a bunch of fava plants at markedly different stages of development, even though they were all planted at the same time. There are still some gaps which may or may not be filled eventually. I got the seeds from Landreth's, and I was surprised by how few there were in each packet. Same with their limas. I could only plant one approximately 15' long single row of each, using two packets of each type.
If you want a ton of seeds the company drthor recommended is great and the prices are right. Their packaging is fantasic, I dont order from them often because I dont know if I can use that many seeds while they are still viable.
Fava Beans could have probably stayed in longer because its cooler then normal, and Okra thrive in hot weather. But you posted that you are done planting for the summer so you are WAY ahead of me. Ive sowed Okra in July and it has thrived.
They all look good in their website ... now you made me shop again !
Do you know that I made my first seed order from Gourmet Seed 5 years ago? ... and I didn't even have my vegetable patch yet !
I still have lots of their seed packages ... because they are huge ... and they are still germinating.
Example: I planted 20 seeds of Yellow Pear (5 years old - still millions in the package) ... I was hoping that just a few germinated ... instead they all came up ... and I was left to suicide some of them
But ... I am partial to this seeds company, since I am Italian, lots of their varieties and name are very familiar to me.