Saturday, February 13, 2016

Planting Fava Bean Seeds. 2.13.16

Fava Bean Botanical Illustration

Fava Bean Seeds.  2.13.16
  Today I planted a packet of fava beans.  The variety was "Windsor", from Johnny's Selected Seeds, although that variety is available via many sources.

The illustration is via Wikipedia, public domain due to age. 

Fava beans have been grown since the bronze age (Wikipedia).  They have been found in Egyptian tombs.  Ancient Greeks and Romans grew them.  They are eaten in cultures around the world, but minimally in the US.  I have never eaten them.

I became interested in favas due to reading about their utility for soil building.  Favas are a kind of legume, different species from the better known American garden beans.  They are very cold tolerant, whereas most beans require warm summer sun and soil.   Favas can survive through the winter in the Pacific Northwest (OSU dept of horticulture), or can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked.  Which is now.  The raised bed soil is easily worked and friable.

Never having grown favas before, let alone eaten them, this is all new to me.  Documenting here as we see what happens.

They are planted deeper than most seeds, due to size.  I planted in furrows  about 1 to 2 inches deep.  After planting, I did not water because it is pouring rain.
Fava Bean Seeds in Furrows.   2.13.16

They will need protection from deer and rabbits.  This raised bed already has chicken-wire fencing to 5 feet, taller than they are expected to grow.  I should add a top of bird netting so the avian herbivores don't dig them up.  Might not be a problem, these are much bigger compared to the pea seeds that birds dig up and eat.

It may be a few weeks to germination, in this cool weather.  Expect to post when that occurs.


  1. You don't know what you are missing Daniel. They are absolutely delicious sate in garlic and olive oil. Every yr rats eat my fava seeds, so I've to sow indoors and cover with net until the seed pod grew old which is the part the rat dug up the whole plants for. They don't eat the green part. I've eaten the tender tops which taste like pea shoots, raw or cook is also very good. Fava is a cool weather crop and will died in the summer heat when I replant with green beans. You can sometimes find fresh fava in middle eastern markets.
    Great in soups, stir fry and salad after cooked. Remember to take the skin off the bean before eating.

  2. Lance, that's good to know. Even at this point in life, I discover new things. In this case, "new" means something that has been part of the diet since the Egyptian pharaohs, and probably earlier.

    Now I'm wondering if I should plant some more seeds in another spot to make up for lost time.

  3. Very funny Daniel! I usually have enough for myself and give some away and still have enough to store in the freezer. During off season, I thaw some out to put in soups and stir fries. Oh, they are kind of good when you blend them like hummus or put in falafel. Right now the plant is covered with lady bugs, seems to happen when they start to flower. No need to buy lady bugs from store. Fava came later in life for me, saw someone grew them in the community garden and then have not been a season without it. So good!

  4. fava from the past season.
    She is a person more keen on fava then me.:

  5. Lance, those look excellent. Really tall, too. Thanks for posting. I'm impressed the lady beetles found them, having read favas can have an aphid problem.

    I'm trying to train myself to pronounce fava to rhyme with lava, instead of like the start of favor. They are not part of my upbringing.

    So far not garminated but it's only one week. I read they may take 2 weeks. There isn't much data in this area regarding favas.

  6. Fava seems to be a CA kind of trendy thing. Have not been a hummus kind of guy until I landed here. I walk by my plot mate's fava in bloom yesterday at the garden and the full bloom with lots of bees and lady bug is attracted by a very strong sweet fragrance too, unforgettable. If your temp is still cool it won't sprout that fast. I usually soak them ahead of time if I'm impatient.