Even though we don't grow them for the flowers, we think they're strikingly beautiful.
Our small patch of fava beans
We devoted just a small section of our garden to fava beans.
Fava bean pods grow upright
Fava beans are unusual in that the pods grow straight upward from the plant.
Still producing new pods at the tip
The first year we grew them, we pulled out the plants as soon as we harvested the pods.
What a mistake! We didn't realize that they keep growing and producing new pods. Why didn't we realize this? That's the way other beans grow and produce.
Plants tied up
We realized that they kept producing after we had already planted them as you would plant bush beans, so they weren't growing up anything.
The best we could do at that point in the seasons was to tie them up to provide a little support.
The fava bean
The pod and its contents
Fava bean pods are very fleshy, so you end up with a lot of pod and a much smaller amount of beans. (In the photo, three of the beans developed and one didn't.)
This isn't too big of a problem since we just compost the pods. Still, though, it definitely results in a smaller harvest than one would expect by looking at the huge pods on the plants. (We end up with about a third of the initial weight of the harvested beans.)
Preparing the beans
Once podded, though, we're still not done. We blanch the beans to remove their skin. Some internet resources suggest this isn't necessary, but most recommend it.
Black aphids infested one section of the plants, but didn't seem to damage them as far as we could tell.
|13||4||We should have supported them with stakes|
|11||-||We didn't grow them this year|
|10||0||The seeds collected from the year before didn't succeed|
|09||2||The first year we tried growing this bean|