Growing Broad Beans, also Fava bean

Vicia faba : Fabaceae / the pea or legume family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
              P P      

(Best months for growing Broad Beans in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 43°F and 75°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 6 - 10 inches apart
  • Harvest in 12-22 weeks. Pick frequently to encourage more pods.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dill, Potatoes
  • Broad bean flowering
  • Egyptian broad beans
  • Shelling broad beans
  • Young beans on plant
  • Young broad bean plant

It is a rigid, erect plant 0.5 - 1.7 m tall, with stout stems with a square cross-section. The leaves are 10 - 25 cm long, pinnate with 2 - 7 leaflets, and of a distinct glaucous grey-green color. Harvest 90 - 160 days depending on how cold the weather is.

In windy areas it is best to provide some support with posts and string, otherwise the plants will fall across each other. Pick the tops out once beans start setting to prevent blackfly.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Broad Beans

The fresh beans are eaten steamed or boiled. As the beans mature it is better to remove their tough outer skins after cooking.
The leafy top shoots of the adult plants can be picked and steamed after flowering.
Small beans can be eaten whole in the pods.
Broad beans will freeze well. Remove from pods and blanch.

Your comments and tips

28 Feb 23, Cam Eckersley-Brinich (USA - Zone 9b climate)
I'm requesting favorite recipes using broad (fava) beans, as they are rarely offered in the produce section, and I'm not a fan of canned veggies of any kind...Thank you!
03 Mar 23, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 5a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
The nice thing about fava beans is you don't have to cook them -- and you don't have to shell them (if they are still young -- they are young enough to eat whole UP TO THE point where they have plumped up fully and the pod is NOT YET fibrous -- once the pods are fibrous the pods need to be discarded (keep the beans) because the fibrous pods are too difficult to digest and will cause lots of discomfort). OK -- so I use my young pods raw (entire pod -- and some leaves and stalk) to make a pesto. I use this pesto as a dip. I also chop up the full pod and use them in stews (Garnish with some leaves). I use the leaves and some stalk (chopped up) when I make scrabbled eggs -- adding the fava once the scrambled eggs are about 15 seconds from done -- in other words just incorporating them into the scrambled eggs and then removing from the pan. If your unsure about what I mean when I say fibrous -- if you where to put the full pod in a blender/chopper -- after you chop, look at the mixture -- if the pods where too fibrous you will see "MESH" yes "MESH" -- looks like pieces of wire mesh -- pick these out and discard these. I NEVER DOUBLE SHELL -- the beans are always good -- but may need to be softened up like any dried bean needs to be.
23 Sep 22, Evelina Lynch (USA - Zone 7b climate)
When can I start beans zone 7b
26 Sep 22, Anonymous (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Go to Broad beans, set your climate zone to USA 7B and it it all there when to plant in the calander guide.
29 Aug 22, Kimberly Johnson (USA - Zone 9a climate)
I want to grow beans for planting in October. What is the best beans to grow?
04 Sep 22, (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Any probably will do. It is about planting at the right time - try a few and then you may prefer one to the others.
15 Oct 16, Roland Close (USA - Zone 9b climate)
I am growing Fava beans for the first time I'm my home garden. My friends in England are assisting me with emails and YouTube videos on the proper way to sow, grow, and harvest them.
17 Jul 16, Elio Sonsini (USA - Zone 5a climate)
I buy lots of fava beans in a store of Southbridge MA I was wondering where they come from I make excellent dishes with fava beans, pasta with fava beans, fava beans with cicoria or just boil them

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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