Fava beans

The fava bean flower ©Janet Allen
Beautiful flowers

Even though we don't grow them for the flowers, we think they're strikingly beautiful.

Fava bean patch ©Janet Allen
Our small patch of fava beans

We devoted just a small section of our garden to fava beans.

Beans grow upright ©Janet Allen
Fava bean pods grow upright

Fava beans are unusual in that the pods grow straight upward from the plant.


Still growing at the tip ©Janet Allen
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 ©Janet Allen
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 ©Janet Allen
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.)

Fava beans ©Janet Allen
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.


Aphids ©Janet Allen

Black aphids infested one section of the plants, but didn't seem to damage them as far as we could tell.

Harvest record

YR LB Notes
14 4
13 4 We should have supported them with stakes
12 0 They rotted
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