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Fava Beans - more than just beans  RSS feed

 
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Apple for you!

What a splendid idea!

If everyone else in the house wasn't asleep already, I would run out to the kitchen and give it a go. As it is, I'll have to wait till tomorrow as it's a pretty noisy grinder thingy.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for suggesting this.

 
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Around Labor Day we started an experimental patch of turnips, daikons, and peas but the peas for some reason didn't do much of anything so next fall we were trying to figure out what to replace the peas with. Would fava's work well in place of pole peas?
 
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I have had no success growing peas, but fava beans grow easily for me. They become quite large plants so they might overwhelm things planted with them. I give them their own little patches, except for growing a few short-term things like leaf lettuce and radishes between the young plants.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I have had no success growing peas, but fava beans grow easily for me. They become quite large plants so they might overwhelm things planted with them. I give them their own little patches, except for growing a few short-term things like leaf lettuce and radishes between the young plants.



If they overwhelmed the turnips and the daikons they would have to be vigorous indeed! I had fantastic luck with them and the final harvest must have weighed 30lbs from that one raised bed.

It is good to hear they are an option. We tried them once and found them to be a perfectly acceptable substitute for dried beans.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think go ahead and try growing them with those vigorous plants - it will be a battle of giants!

 
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So... does anyone here eat the leaves and new shoots?

I'm thinking about favism and the anti nutrients that can be active in raw fava beans, would these also be an issue when eating the leaves? All the garden and cook books I've found so far say the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, but I have doubts as to how many of these authors have actually tried the leaves. It may just be one of those myths that one person said and then everyone else repeats.



Here is a link about legume leaves as food https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1990/V1-391.html the general consensus seems to be that some legume leaves are used as food, but only after cooking and other processing (leaching etc.). Some may be famine food, in other words, not good for general consumption. Cooked, in moderation, at that time of year fava bean tops are probably ok for most people, but I would recommend caution. IMO the current fad for raw foodism is often misguided, because of plants like these.

Totally agree with everything Joseph Lofthouse has been saying. I have been saving fava bean seed for a number of years. Chocolate spot was a problem at times, and seemed to be seedborn, but after a few generations the disease seemed to become harmless. The seeds had brown spots, but the resulting plants were mostly healthy
 
r ranson
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Thank you for the link. I'm going to make a cuppa tea and devour it. It's a topic I've been curious in for a while, but haven't been able to find more than anecdotal evidence for. I love that the link gives references - aka, books I can order through interlibrary loan.

Can you tell me more about Chocolate spot? I found the wiki for it, but it's a bit sparse.

 
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You hit the nail on the head. How can anyone say no now?

Sharla Kew wrote:Heyo! I made an image from the advice in this thread. Thanks to Roberta Wilkinson for letting me use her picture of fava bean flowers.

 
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Fava Beans are also very useful, they enrich the soil in Azote and are perfect to be grown in early Spring, preparing a very good soil for the summer-vegetables !!
 
r ranson
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Here's an interesting thing I found in the garden today.



It's a small patch of fava beans I found growing in the early fall. I have a suspicion that they were growing from the roots of the beans I harvested because the root system was so large come September when I transplanted them away from my main winter crops. I harvest by cutting the plant an inch or so above the ground, so it's possible that a root may have survived... I guess. But they may be plants that grew from seeds I dropped. I'm deliberately clumsy when harvesting seeds because I love the surprise of free food volunteers.

It's been a mild winter for us, with a few decent frosts. We had almost a week when the frost didn't thaw during the day, and it hit these fava beans pretty hard. Little bean plants can handle winter, but these tall ones have loads of trouble... except for one plant.



All the plants beside it are withered and sad, but this one is getting ready to flower. It seems to be much more frost hardy than my other ones. I'm definitely saving seed from this guy.


Edit to add: in comparison, my fall planted fava beans are about 1 to 3 inches tall and have about four leaves each... which is normal for this time of year.

Edit again: I was wondering... just idling dreaming. What would it be like to have a perennial fava bean? Cut it in the summer, to harvest the beans, and it grows back from the roots the next fall. That would be a nifty crop - just like the runner beans that I forget to dig out their roots.
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r ranson
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My wonder fava (pictured in the post above) is taller now and fiercely defended by bumble bees. I wanted to see if any of the flowers had set pods, but the bees wouldn't let me near it. Never seen bumbles so assertive before.

My fall planted, large bean favas are flowering already. They seem a bit short to be flowering, but the soil they are in is very poor. I'm doing my best to allow natural selection to cull any beans that can't make it in marginal land. I've lost about 5% over the winter, which is half of what I usually lose when growing them in my good garden soil when planted at the same time. Maybe favas want less rich soil? Or maybe it's the better drainage where they are now that increased the survival rate?

The small bean favas planted a few weeks later, are just about to burst into bloom. They are much shorter than the large bean ones, but these plants look healthier. They are in even worse soil, but even better drainage.

My spring planted fava beans are about an inch tall but growing like crazy. It will be interesting to compare the water needs and harvest amount of the spring and fall plantings. My prediction is that the fall plantings have stronger root systems and can withstand the summer drought better.

In the meantime, been perfecting a recipe for fava bean falafels. They make a surprisingly good breakfast.
 
r ranson
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R Ranson wrote:
My fall planted, large bean favas are flowering already. They seem a bit short to be flowering, but the soil they are in is very poor. I'm doing my best to allow natural selection to cull any beans that can't make it in marginal land. I've lost about 5% over the winter...



... about 90% of those have somehow come back to life.

Not many bees on my main fava patch yet, but there are plenty of pollinators fighting over my Wonder Fava.
 
r ranson
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An update on my favas.

The early fall planting of the large seed is in full flower. This is my second year growing many of these seeds, but my first year growing them together as a landrace. The variety is stunning, flower colour, stem shape and colour, leaf shape and colour... &c. These are grown on horribly awful soil. Even the weeds hate it. They got one hoeing in Jan, and will probably get the larger weeds pulled by hand closer to harvest (if I feel like it).



The early winter planting of small seed favas is something like the large seeds. They started flowering last week. Much shorter, but in much poorer soil. Their job is to improve the soil. Again, this is my second year growing many of these seeds, but my first year growing them together as a landrace. The variation is far less obvious. The flowers are all white, and stems more or less the same colour. However, there is marked difference leaf shape and colour.


My mystery fava (mentioned above for having survived a hard frost while full grown plant) has a new shoot from the root.





It's even set some pods (photo taken about 10 days ago)



The bees are absolutely dippy about this. I have to sneak in near dawn while they are still a bit sluggish to get near it.
 
r ranson
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Some of my large seed fava beans have brilliant coloured flowers. Crimson, white with stripes, purple, red, purple-white, &c. All of my small seed favas have boring white flowers.

I want my small seed favas to have many different coloured flowers (but still have small seeds).

Is there a way to take these two things, combine them somehow and reach my goal? Is there a resource where I can discover if flower colour in fava beans is a nice simple genetic mendelian trait?
 
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Bond, D.A. Recent developments in breeding field beans (Vicia faba L.). Plant Breed. 1987, 99, 1–26. wrote:Reported values for cross-pollination range from 10 to 70%.



Therefore, if you plant the varieties side by side, in a few years you will have colored flowers and small seeds in the same plant. At that point, it is a matter of selecting those out, and separating the populations so that they don't cross (much) any more. You'll also have to reselect for a population with big seeds.

Or you could do manual cross-pollinations to move the colored flower trait from one variety to the other...


 
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That's great news. Given how popular the favas are with the bees, I think promiscuous pollination is the easiest way for me. Next year, big and small seed will alternate rows.

It's so exciting. A delicious, yet decorative staple crop that I can grow in the flower bed.
 
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R Ranson wrote:That's great news. Given how popular the favas are with the bees, I think promiscuous pollination is the easiest way for me. Next year, big and small seed will alternate rows.

It's so exciting. A delicious, yet decorative staple crop that I can grow in the flower bed.



So much of my gardening is done in the front yard flower beds. I've been watching this thread with interest. You've just about got me convinced to follow my eggplant/pepper bed in the front with a fall planting of favas this year. Are there any varieties you can recommend as exceptionally attractive?
 
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Casie Becker wrote:

R Ranson wrote:That's great news. Given how popular the favas are with the bees, I think promiscuous pollination is the easiest way for me. Next year, big and small seed will alternate rows.

It's so exciting. A delicious, yet decorative staple crop that I can grow in the flower bed.



So much of my gardening is done in the front yard flower beds. I've been watching this thread with interest. You've just about got me convinced to follow my eggplant/pepper bed in the front with a fall planting of favas this year. Are there any varieties you can recommend as exceptionally attractive?



These Crimson flowered
favas have captured my heart.

 
Casie Becker
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I'm sad to see that vendor couldn't ship them to me here, but at least I have a starting place to search. Thank you for the fast response.
 
r ranson
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I'm growing some of those crimson favas in semi-isolation, so I may have some seeds to sell later in the summer.

In the meantime, have you seen that Joseph is offering PIE discount seeds? His Fava beans have lots of different colour flowers.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm hoping to take plenty of photos of fava flowers this summer. I'm intending to put flags on the crimson-flowered favas, so that I can separate some of them out of the population this fall.

 
Casie Becker
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I see that you're out of favas right now. I'll check again this fall as that will be when I make my first attempt. There's three gardening seasons here and fall is actually widely accepted to be the most productive.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I captured this photo in my garden this evening.

crimson-fava-2016-05-03a.jpg
[Thumbnail for crimson-fava-2016-05-03a.jpg]
Crimson-Flowered Fava Bean
 
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I love fava beans, and tried years ago to grow them here in Western Colorado. For several years, I had no luck.

At the time I just thought it was a problem with the climate. I could not figure out when to plant them. I was used to them being planted in the fall and harvested in the spring, with a rainy winter. Now, reading this thread, I see it was not the climate. If Joseph can grow them in the Cache Valley, I ought to be able to grow them here.

At the time I was trying year after year, I also had undeveloped soil, but did not understand the whole fungi to bacteria ratio and had never heard of the soil food web. Now I have some great live soil and could try again, but I would like advice on when to plant them and shade or sun, moisture level in the soil and so on.

I'd appreciate anything you fava bean growers in cold climates can tell me.
 
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Didn't know you called these 'fava beans'. These are beans every gardener here has in his/her veggie-garden. In Dutch they are called 'tuinbonen', meaning 'garden beans'. I thought their English name was 'broad beans'. Tomorrow I'll make a photo of my bean plants (with the white flowers with a dark spot) and post it here.
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
On my grain grinder, I am able to get a bit more space between the plates by adding a washer or two, or three, to the bolt before tightening it down.




Joseph, what grain grinder do you have and where did you get it? As I learn to make my own foods I am at least collecting a wish list of tools and gadgets to make the work easier....

Not all of every pack but about half of what you sent me has seen dirt and over the next few days will be in ground. Looking forward to seeing what gets produced.

The runner bean grex look the closest to the Favas shown here for size or am I just wire crossed confused? (I can be that way)


rr. moderator edit to fix broken code
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Didn't know you called these 'fava beans'.



I have seen people use the term 'broad beans' for several different species with the meaning of "a great big bean"... So to avoid confusion, I use the Latin name "faba/fava".

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Thekla:

The first year I planted fava beans, I direct seeded at the same time I plant any other bean: About June 5th, after all danger of frost was past. I harvested exactly zero beans. They flowered like crazy all summer, and attracted a huge following of aphids and tending ants.

The second year I planted fava beans, they went into the ground about the time I plant peas. Very early. Only about 4 plants out of 50 produced seeds, so overall, I harvested much less than what went into the ground.

The third year, I was finally getting well acquainted with the principles of landrace growing, so I imported a couple of genetically diverse varieties, and tried again, along with my saved seed. I harvested more beans than went into the ground. Woo Hoo! Making progress!!!

One of my buddies in Colorado overwinters favas in low-tunnels.

The problem with fava beans in my climate, is that it turns hot about June 5th, and they don't set seed during hot weather. So they have to be flowering before then to make seeds. I realized that I could set plants into the ground about the day after the snow melts!!! That really helps them to be flowering well before the arrival of hot weather. It helps if I prepare the ground for the favas in the fall, so that planting is easy in spite of the mud. I aim to have plants that are about 3 weeks old on the second week of March which is about the average date of snow-cover melting. I grow them in 72 cell 1020 flats.

This year, I planted 3 crops of fava beans:
  • Seeds a few days before arrival of winter snow cover in November.
  • 3 week old greenhouse grown seedlings a few days after snow-melt.
  • Direct seeded in the spring.


  • So far, the crop that looks like it is doing the best is the transplants.

    I also suspect that I am selecting for favas that set seed better in hotter weather. If I paid more attention to selection, I could probably hasten that process. I've just been doing plain old survival-of-the-fittest selection of the favas. Plant seed. Bulk harvest whatever survives. Replant the offspring of the survivors in bulk.

    I'm attaching a photo of what the fava transplants looked like a few hours ago. Also attaching a photo of a fava plant with gray flowers: The only one like it in the patch this year.

    favas-052216.jpg
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    transplanted fava beans.
    fava-flowers-052216.jpg
    [Thumbnail for fava-flowers-052216.jpg]
    gray fava flowers
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    Deb: My grinder was made before people thought that equipment should be branded, so it's just a traditional grain grinder... It's been in the family for as long as anyone now living can remember. I'm sure Lehman's carries them, or something similar.

    Here's comparisons of the sizes of different species. Photos to the same scale.

    Fava Beans:


    Runner Beans:


    Common Beans:


    Tepary Beans:
     
    Deb Rebel
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    Joseph, thank you. Those pictures are worth a thousand words.
     
    r ranson
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    Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Didn't know you called these 'fava beans'. These are beans every gardener here has in his/her veggie-garden. In Dutch they are called 'tuinbonen', meaning 'garden beans'. I thought their English name was 'broad beans'. Tomorrow I'll make a photo of my bean plants (with the white flowers with a dark spot) and post it here.



    Plant names, especially old world plants like these, are often regional. So one village would call them one thing and another village would have a different name. These have sort of standardized over the years in English, but never quite meshed together completely.

    Broad beans can refer to favas, fabas, or lima beans. Most often 'Broad Bean' refers to favas and lima beans, more of a shape than a specific bean. It's very confusing.

    I'm looking forward to your photo.
     
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    R Ranson wrote:Plant names, especially old world plants like these, are often regional. So one village would call them one thing and another village would have a different name. These have sort of standardized over the years in English, but never quite meshed together completely.

    Broad beans can refer to favas, fabas, or lima beans. Most often 'Broad Bean' refers to favas and lima beans, more of a shape than a specific bean. It's very confusing.

    I'm looking forward to your photo.


    Perhaps that's USA-specific?

    Broad beans are explicitly fava beans in my country and likely others. If someone wants to buy what you call fava beans in the supermarket, I expect it'd be false advertising and legally liable here if they included anything other than fava beans, given they are labelled as broad beans. They are never called fava beans, and most people wouldn't know what fava beans were.
     
    Tyler Ludens
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    That's why it's helpful if we can remember to use the Latin name when possible, though because of genetic testing, taxonomy is in great flux now so even Latin names can differ for the same plant. Still, we can try....
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    And to add even more confusion: Not all fava beans are called broad beans. Some of them are called horse beans, or pigeon beans!!!

     
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    All this talk about favism is strange though. Unless you have the genetic mutation, you're unlikely to have any blood issues eating broad beans,and that only seams to occur in Mediterranean and North African populations, as a consequence of an adaptation to malaria. Also a very common sight in Italy is men eating fresh broadbeans with a glass of wine as kind of aperitivo. Of course broad beans will make you windy, which can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Not something to eat before a date!
     
    Deb Rebel
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    Marcello Fabretti wrote:All this talk about favism is strange though. Unless you have the genetic mutation, you're unlikely to have any blood issues eating broad beans,and that only seams to occur in Mediterranean and North African populations, as a consequence of an adaptation to malaria. Also a very common sight in Italy is men eating fresh broadbeans with a glass of wine as kind of aperitivo. Of course broad beans will make you windy, which can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Not something to eat before a date!



    If you eat enough legumes often enough you tend to get 'immune' to the gas issue... Not totally gone but not like someone who doesn't eat them frequently. Your gut bacteria population changes some to allow you to process them better. Beans and legumes are a cornerstone of my current diet and I can attest to this.

    Genetic issues are no fun. I have a few but it's not beans as long as they're cooked right. Hoping I can nurse mine through the weather this year and get a crop. Home grown are always best, no matter what food it is. It is nice for others to share the information so when dealing with this type of bean they're made properly to be delicious and not get you back because you ate them.
     
    Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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    Here's a photo of my 'tuinbonen' (vicia faba) plants. This is probably a Dutch 'landrace', the white flowers with a dark purple (almost black) spot.

    This photo I googled to show you what beans these are. They can be eaten in many different ways, but mostly we eat the beans green and fresh.

     
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    Joseph Lofthouse wrote:R Ranson: Ha! Because you brought it up, I remember having an upset stomach yesterday. It was mild, and passed quickly. I was wondering about what I ate to upset myself. I'm very sensitive to wheat but hadn't had any for weeks. Hmmm. Wondering if it was the raw fava leaves?

    I'm sure individual biology plays a big part in that response. I loves my favas and this time of the year (autumn in NZ) taking the tops out for stir fries has a double benefit, greens for the diet and divisions for the plant which wont set seed till spring anyway. Also keeps it a bit shorter and more able to handle winter winds.
     
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    I started harvesting the fava bean seed crop this morning.

    favas-2016-first.jpg
    [Thumbnail for favas-2016-first.jpg]
    fava beans: earliest seed harvest of 2016.
     
    Casie Becker
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    Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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    forest garden urban
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    I keep checking for updates on your seed list for the new crop of favas to become available. I've picked up a three named varieties from Baker Creek Seeds. One way or another I'm trialing favas starting this Sept.

     
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